Poking fun at Sam Allardyce as a football manager is easy. His portly frame, his self-important opinions and his philosophy when playing the game all make him quite a vulnerable target.
In reality though, the one-time front runner for the national manager’s job should be quite widely respected for his efforts in the game.
An immortal Premier League manager that’s never been relegated, Allardyce has become a guru at taking unfancied sides into the top half of the league.
He’s also developed an uncanny ability to get the best out of ageing internationals during the twilight of their careers and looks set to do so again with a recently released Chelsea striker.
Allardyce has been offered the opportunity to sign Samuel Eto’o on a free transfer this summer but will likely have to juggle the books in order to afford the player’s £100,000-per-week wage demands.
Big Sam certainly has a need for a new front man though, with Andy Carroll once again confined to the physio’s room for the opening stages of the Premier League season.
A player-coach partnership between the Cameroon international and Allardyce has all the hallmarks of a successful one, as the former Bolton man managed to squeeze every last bit of talent out of fellow over 30s like Youri Djorkaeff, Jay Jay Okocha and Ivan Campo in his time.
Eto’o was a relative success at Stamford Bridge last term, scoring 12 goals in all competitions including a hat-trick against Manchester United, and would be a useful rotation player for the 2/1 top-10 hopefuls.
Whether the 118-capped international is happy sharing starter’s minutes with new recruits Enner Valencia and Mauro Zarate while waiting for Carroll to return could be another stumbling block in the deal though.
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