Marquee Madness: Premier League’s Eto’o, Defoe Headed To MLS?

Deck the halls with bows of limp, underwhelming holly, soccer fans! For indeed, if reports are to be believed, it looks increasingly likely that goalscoring robots Samuel Eto’o and Jermain Defoe will be on their way to the MLS after this summer’s World Cup.

The Cameroonian will certainly be playing in the World Cup, but Defoe – more out of the picture than in at the hit comedy show Tottenham Hotspur – may be watching from one of his new homes in Toronto.

Although the Canadian club poured cold water on the Defoe rumours last month, it has since emerged that Drake, a Canadian hiphop star (ahem) and global ambassador for Toronto FC, made a booty call for the Spurs striker, and a deal is all but sealed.  There is also a link with Ryan Nelson, the current Toronto head coach, who was a teammate of Defoe’s during the Kiwi’s brief and surprising loan spell at White Hart Lane.

The talk is that the tiny, 31-year-old Defoe will be banking over 150,000 Canadian dollars a week, as well as unlimited flights for him and his family. “Family” in this instance would mainly constitute Defoe’s mother Sandra to whom he is utterly devoted. The deal is also rumoured to include not one but two houses for the sometime England striker. This remarkable act of generosity on the club’s behalf will enable Defoe to scurry with increasing intensity and futility between the two houses, his head down, missing everything that is going on around him.

Bar a brief rumour of Arsenal being interested in taking Defoe to the Emirates, he has never been linked to any of the big teams. Too often, the game seems to pass him by, and, lacking the creativity or guile to work out another way, he can seem a luxury. In a way, he is a victim of his own nearlyness.

Defoe is nearly excellent. He is too good a striker to be a mere impact sub, but he is simply not good enough to trust in the big games. He exists in this strange nearly land. Perhaps the MSL is perfect for Defoe. What better league for him to try out than a league that is nearly good?

If Defoe, whose career transfer total is a healthy £30,650,000, is to be offered two houses, 150,000 a week, and more air miles than you can shake a stick at as part of his MSL move, the mind boggles as to what Eto’o (£75,700,000 in transfer fees) will receive were a move for him to materialise.

Indeed it would often seem that Eto’o’s entire raison d’etre is to boggle one’s mind. He has always scored goals. His goal stats are good, approaching seriously good, and yet he seems a flickering presence on the pitch. Is he there at all, one might justifiably wonder.

The nearest he came to conspicuousness in going about his work was when Jose Mourinho deployed him on the right of midfield, where he carried out his duties apparently without complaint. And still the goals came. A goal in every other game for Inter. And alot of his work at the San Siro was done playing out of position. Just under a goal a game for Barca.

And yet the average football fan would be hard-pressed to remember any great Eto’o goals, and, bar the odd dash-and-bash past dazed opponents, to remember many goals at all. How does he do it?

It was this baffling ability to score regularly without appearing to have actually played in matches that led the then mega-rich Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011 to offer him a salary of €20 million a year after tax, a €2 million car and a gold throne on the right hand side of God himself.

Needless to say, the Cameroon captain scored goals, and plenty of them, but it was not a surprise when the great Dagestan adventure turned sour. The billionaire owner saw billions wiped from his personal fortune, he lost interest in his bauble, and foreign stars such as Eto’o and Willian, were soon on their way back to the safety of Western Europe, or, more specifically, West London.

At Chelsea, Eto’o has been not much more than useful, and certainly his usual self, with some fans expressing concern as to his match fitness. Dare anyone at the club confront the iconic striker about his weight? If Jose Mourinho is not minded to grab a jowel and ask the question, it is unlikely any MSL paymaster will try when the goal machine arrives next season.

The usual suspects – Los Angeles Galaxy, DC United and Club Deportivo Chivas USA are potential suiters for Eto’o. It would seem unlikely that the Seattle Sounders will be able to swallow his wage demands, and Clint Dempsey would be justified in raising a quizzical eyebrow if he was expected to play in a deeper role to accommodate the superior goalscorer.

There has also been talk that none other than FC Toronto would be interested in hiring the hitman. But surely now that Jermain Defoe appears Canada bound, it seems extremely unlikely that he will be joined by Eto’o.  Imagine how many houses they would have to buy him.

Jermain Defoe

Age: 31

Appearance: Fridge magnet crossed with squirrel

Style of play: Simple to the point of crude. Gets the ball and shoots for goal, irrespective of location of teammates, opponents or goalkeeper.

Strengths: Powerful right foot.

Weaknesses: Unintelligent runner, weak on the left side, easily marked, frequently offside, doesn’t contribute to general play. Rarely scores against the top sides.


Samuel Eto’o

Age: 32

Appearance: Fading, lethal gangster forced into one last job he doesn’t quite understand

Style of play: Sinister, puts defenders to sleep and burgles their houses when they aren’t watching. Pacy, powerful and sly.

Strengths: Understands how to put Ball A into Slot A. Obedient, relentless.

Weaknesses: Massive cars. Cash. Cake?

Neil Ardiff
Irish. Bookish. Oldish. Warmish.
Neil Ardiff
Neil Ardiff
Neil Ardiff

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