Roberto Martinez’s love of rescuing Chelsea players shone again as he made newly released veteran Samuel Eto’o his latest signing at Goodison Park.
In doing so, the Spanish tactician was able to get a fix for his other great addiction in football, prolonging the careers of senior pros.
Gareth Barry and Antolin Alcaraz are previous examples of 30-something footballers Martinez has had no hesitation in signing since taking over from David Moyes and the capture of Eto’o is another display of the 41-year-old’s penchant for experience.
In addition to those signings, Martinez has found ample room for the veterans who preceded him, preferring that path over the one Felix Magath has adopted to disastrous effect at Fulham, where untried youngsters have replaced a raft of leading players.
Tim Howard, Sylvain Distin, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka are the wise elders of Martinez’s Everton side and Eto’o should thrive as the newest member of that group.
After a solid opening stanza of two draws from their first two Premier League games, Everton will see the Cameroon international’s arrival as a step towards the Champions League, which they are 9/1 to qualify for this season.
Jose Mourinho’s handling of Eto’o’s age, where he was caught on camera suggesting the striker was 35 rather than 33, led to an ironic celebration from the former Barcelona player, but also the breakdown of the pair’s relationship.
Now at a club that clearly values age, Eto’o should be able to provide the goals to support fellow Chelsea exile Romelu Lukaku that will push Everton to challenge for the top four.
Ironically, Eto’o could make his Toffees bow against Chelsea at Goodison Park, where Everton are 13/5 outsiders to claim victory.
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