Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Beşiktaş try to woo Antalyaspor's Samuel Eto'o

Super League giants Beşiktaş are weighing up a move to sign Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o on loan from Antalyaspor in the winter transfer window, according to Turkish media reports.

Beşiktaş, after failing to fill the vacuum left by its German striker Mario Gomez's move to Wolfsburg and below par performances by strikers Cenk Tosun and Vincent Aboubakar, are ready to set an appointment with Antalyaspor. Both parties are expected to sit down for negotiations on Wednesday.
The Black Eagles are expecting not to pay any transfer fees and get Eto'o on a six-month loan. Antalyaspor, on the other hand, have reportedly demanded 1.5 million euros in loan charges, plus Beşiktaş's Kerim Frei and Ömer Şişmanoğlu on loan.

There have been problems between Antalyaspor and Eto'o for a while. The modest Anatolian club with a small budget paid a lot of money for Samuel Eto'o, but the former Barcelona man has been heavily criticized, with critics even saying that "Eto'o is finished," referring to his old age and weight. Some Turkish commentators and sports writers have also said, "He is finished" or "He has come to Turkey for a vacation."

Moreover, Eto'o was left out of the squad in September after he wrote on his Instagram account he was not being given respect for his achievements because he is black. Nearly a month later, he was recalled by his club.

Club chairman Ali Şafak Öztürk said he had been forgiven after expressing regret for the remarks. The big-spending club had hoped for far better when they signed Eto'o in June 2015 as the keystone of their bid to find national and even European success for the southern Mediterranean resort city.

The world famous footballer has been the subject of jokes in Turkey for a decade. The joke is, "Eto'o is done," meaning that Eto'o's transfer is done. But it can also means in Turkish that Eto'o is a washed-up footballer.

Some years ago, a Turkish TV commentator Oktay Derelioğlu said, "Eto'o (his transfer) is done." And he repeated it several times. The transfer rumor, which came from Derelioğlu's source, was not right and the Cameroonian did not come to Turkey. After that, "Eto'o is done," turned into a joke. It went viral and comical videos were made for websites like YouTube.

When his transfer was finally completed, some Turkish commentators and sports writers said, "He is finished," or "He is coming to Turkey for a vacation."

The TL 4.5 million ($1.4 million) transfer sum Antalyaspor paid for the striker has been richly rewarded with 21 goals and six assists in the 2015/16 season, not to mention the attention he has brought to the otherwise unheralded team.

Moreover, the 34-year-old Eto'o has attracted attention for his leadership and became the captain of his team last season. His annual cost to Antalyaspor is 3.5 million euros. Antalyaspor have been able to raise the income through sponsorship deals, 'Passolig' cards and merchandise thanks to the signing of Eto'o.

Regarded as one of the best African footballers ever, Samuel Eto'o has played for many well-known European football sides such as Barcelona, Inter Milan and Chelsea. Eto'o managed to lift the Champions League trophy three times with two different clubs. He won it twice in 2006 and 2009 with Barcelona and claimed it once in 2010 while playing for Inter.

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