Samuel Eto’o Offered To A-League

Can the A-League compete long term with Asia's big bucks?

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Veteran Everton striker Samuel Eto’o is being offered around the A-League, according to News Ltd.

The 33-year-old wants out of the Premier League club in favour of regular game time, however a proposed 18-month deal with Italian team Sampdoria is taking longer than expected to materialise.

The former Cameroon forward moved to Everton after a one-season stint with Chelsea, producing nine goals in 21 appearances, but has managed just three goals in 14 games since coming to Goodison Park.

Asking for a reported $5 million, Eto’o moving to Australia appears unrealistic for cash-strapped A-League clubs, especially since MLS team the New York Cosmos have also reportedly closed in on the four-time African Player of the Year.

Meanwhile, football player agent Leo Karis has warned A-League clubs could lose home-grown talent to the richer Asian competitors.

“I know that Chinese club scouts and clubs are looking closely at the Asian Cup to secure top players for the Chinese Super League – that’s who we’re competing with,” Karis told The Daily Telegraph.

“They’re seriously cashed up as we’re seeing with Tomi Juric and Nathan Burns (both the target of multi-million-dollar offers from Shanghai).”

Attracting European marquee signings has become the popular trend in the A-League and putting the pressure back on Asian clubs is rarely possible due the exorbitant wages seen in places like China and the United Arab Emirates.

Gaining popularity is the idea of introducing a 3+1 rule which would see clubs forced to add one foreigner from the Asian region to be able to add three imports from Europe.

“It’s definitely an uphill battle for A-League clubs. Even if you introduce a 3+1 rule, you’ve still got to be able to fund the +1,” Karis added. “In a handful of cases you can look at other motivations beyond money but that requires clubs to do a lot of work in identifying players who might want a lifestyle change for instance.”

Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty Images.