Russian club Anzhi announces deal for Eto'o
Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala announced a deal with Inter Milan for Samuel Eto'o on Tuesday that could make the Cameroon striker the highest paid footballer in the world.
''Today an agreement was reached between the football clubs Anzhi and Inter for the transfer of Samuel Eto'o. The terms of the transfer fully suited both sides,'' a statement on Anzhi's website said.
Anzhi said Eto'o would undergo a medical exam on Wednesday, after which he will be awarded a three-year contract.
While financial terms were not disclosed, reports in Italy say Eto'o will be paid ?20 million ($29 million) net per season, eclipsing the estimated ?12 million ($17.4 million) that Cristiano Ronaldo earns at Real Madrid and the ?10.5 million ($15.2 million) that Lionel Messi is paid by Barcelona.
After a week of negotiations in Milan, the transfer fee was reportedly set between ?25 and ?27 million ($36 and $39 million).
According to Anzhi, Eto'o will join his new club Thursday to prepare for a match against FC Rostov.
Inter did not make any formal announcement.
''Tomorrow the deal will be formalized,'' Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio said, according to the ANSA news agency.
Anzhi, from the troubled southern Russian province of Dagestan, is owned by billionaire oil tycoon Suleiman Kerimov.
At 30, Eto'o is still in his prime, but he has already won three Champions League titles - two with Barcelona and one with Inter - and is apparently excited about playing in the developing Russian league.
In Forbes magazine's latest list of the world's richest people, Kerimov's net worth was estimated at $7.8 billion, tying him for 118th place with Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi and family.
Anzhi's captain is 38-year-old Roberto Carlos, once the standout left back for Brazil.
Inter has been linked with Diego Forlan of Atletico Madrid, Ezequiel Lavezzi of Napoli or Carlos Tevez of Manchester City as a replacement for Eto'o. Inter's other forwards are Giampaolo Pazzini, Diego Milito and Goran Pandev.
Inter opens the Serie A season against Lecce on Sunday.
Eto'o led Inter with 37 goals in all competitions last season, having replaced Milito as the club's biggest scoring threat. He was a key member of the Inter side that won the Champions League in 2010, often accepting an attacking midfield or defensive role for then-Inter coach Jose Mourinho.
Before joining Inter in 2009, Eto'o played five seasons with Barcelona.
Makhachkala is plagued by violence from insurgency that has spread across the North Caucasus after two separatist wars in Dagestan's neighboring region of Chechnya.
Anzhi players live and train at a training camp outside Moscow and travel to Makhachkala for home games, flying about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) 15 times a season.