Legendary striker Samuel Eto’o is eyeing the A-League as a final career destination, in news which may spark the interest of marquee hunters Sydney FC.
The Cameroon kingpin - who has 19 career trophies and couldn’t stop scoring in his pomp for Barcelona and Inter Milan - has 12 months left on his contract with Turkish Super Lig side Konyaspor.
But he’s informed his representatives that Australia - and the A-League - is of interest to him in what could be a dramatic swan-song for his country’s all-time leading scorer.
It’s unclear whether, should there be contact from Australia, Konyaspor would grant a release or seek a transfer fee.
Despite his vintage, Eto’o, 37, appears to have lost little of his potency during the past three seasons in Turkey, notching 44 goals in 76 appearances for Antalyaspor before adding another six in 13 games for Konyaspor after signing in January.
The three-time UEFA Champions League winner has long-term plans to turn his hand to coaching but with such compelling stats - even deep into his thirties - his flirtation with Australia could alert the Sky Blues, who are in the market to replace departed Brazilian marquee Bobo with a big-name marksman.
Melbourne Victory might also come into the frame should top target Keisuke Honda fail to accept an offer, topped up by around $2 million from the FFA’s marquee fund, to join them in 2018-2019.
It’s understood the Japanese playmaker, who has been playing hardball over his wage structure, will give Victory coach Kevin Muscat a final answer over the weekend.
Sydney-based agent Engin Durmus, of AFS Sports Management, has ties to Eto’o and would oversee any move to Australia.
“Don’t be fooled by his age, he’s kept himself supremely fit and his recent scoring record proves he still has a great eye for goal,” Durmus said.
“He’s at a stage where he is also passing on a lot of his knowledge to younger players and helping them develop.
“His long-term vision is to coach - but right now he still has a huge amount to offer on the field.
“He sees Australia as largely unknown but interesting territory, although he was part of the Cameroon Olympic team which won gold here at the 2000 Games in Sydney.”
Eto’o’s accomplishments are astounding, and also include two Africa Cup of Nations crowns, two UCL winners’ medals with Barcelona and three La Liga titles before departing for Inter Milan, where he helped Jose Mourinho’s team win the treble of the Champions League, Serie A and Coppa Italia in his first season in Italy before moving to Russia's Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011.
He also had brief spells at Chelsea and Everton in the Premier League and netted 56 international goals for Cameroon in 118 appearances.
He has scored a total of 334 career goals in club and international football since making his professional debut for Mallorca in 2003.