First-team chances gives Everton lead in Chelsea freebie race

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Everton and Arsenal found themselves in a battle to nab the fourth Champions League spot last season, and look set to renew hostilities in the transfer market this summer.

Both clubs are on the hunt for a striker as Everton’s on-loan Chelsea man Romelu Lukaku’s spell at Goodison is over, while the Gunners need to find some support to number one front man Olivier Giroud.

As luck would have it, they are both after the same man with Roberto Martinez joining Arsene Wenger in the pursuit of recently released Chelsea man Samuel Eto’o.

The Cameroonian, who can be backed at 7/2 to be his country’s leading scorer at the World Cup, is thought to favour staying in England after his relationship with Jose Mourinho turned sour at the back end of last season, resulting in his release.

At 33, a spot on Arsenal’s bench may not appeal as much as the challenge of filling Lukaku’s first-team shoes at Everton and the Toffees are quite confident they can lure the three-time Champions League winner to Merseyside based on that premise.

The young Belgian was Goodison Park-goal specialist last season, notching 10 of his 15 Premier League goals at home and in Eto’o, Martinez would be recruiting a similar player.

Barcelona’s former striker scored nine goals for Chelsea in the top-flight last season and all of them came in front of his own fans at Stamford Bridge.

Having made just 16 starts for Mourinho, Eto’o would surely bag himself a healthier return should he make the move north, as he’d be starting on a weekly basis for the Toffees.

At Arsenal, there’s no suggestion that Wenger would afford the Douala native that kind of game time, with Giroud the clear leader of Arsenal’s line and Yaya Sanogo a young talent that’s still in need of nurturing.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.