The uneasy relationship between Samuel Eto'o and Pep Guardiola seems to have come to an end with Barca's manager categorically saying that the striker's future in the club was bleak. His place will be taken by Zlatan Ibrahamovic. It is part of a swap deal with €45 million in cash and Hleb's loan as an additional sweetener.
Guardiola on the Eto'o situation. Its left to a whimsical 'feeling.'
"I am convinced that the best thing for Barca is for Eto'o to leave,'' he said. "Could I be mistaken? Maybe so."
"Without him we wouldn't have achieved what we achieved last year,'' added Guardiola. "There are no footballing or personal reasons or anything about his behaviour. It's simply a question of 'feeling', and that's how I feel."
All I can say is that Barca appear a trifle desperate. Eto'o might have scored a number of goals courtesy the passing skills of Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi but he proved to be a pretty effective exclamation point. With cash to boot and Hleb's loan, Inter must be feeling pretty good about this deal. Basically this deal fixes an approximate value of €10 million for Eto'o's whereas it is close to €60 million for Ibrahamovic. Not bad for a player challenging Diego Forlan for the Pichichi a few months ago.
The other concern is Ibra's temperament which is that of a loner. Eto'o might have had his problems dealing with Guardiola and his team mates but the Swede has also had his share of testy moments with fans and Jose Mourinho. Playing for Inter with its less lubricating midfield has molded Ibra into an individualistic striker. Inter is an impatient team with only Cambiasso and Zanetti proving that they can play a possession game. It will be a bumpy transition to a team that prides itself for its subtle and effective ball control.
At this point Barca loses a player that has been very productive for them in the CL with 16 goals in 34 appearances. Compare his tally to the more anemic output of 6 goals in 21 matches for Ibra and Barca definitely comes off at the losing end of the deal. Not the smartest move by Guardiola after he could do no wrong last season. Inter gains a player who helps them with their hitherto stunted CL aspirations even as they run rampant in the Serie.
We are also not dealing with an Adebayor situation where the fans had become disenchanted with his lack of passion and inconsistency. Eto'o has a very passionate following at the Nou Camp who look at his goal scoring exploits as key to their successful Liga and CL campaigns.
However this is far from a done deal and personal terms could be a sticking point. Even Guardiola acknowledges that there are many variables.
"I have not spoken to him (Eto'o), there are other people in charge who are used to doing so. Does he feel betrayed? I hope not. You don't know what will happen and who knows he could still be with us in training on the 27th.''