The Samuel Eto'o saga is over, or so it would seem. The final episode took place in a hotel room in Mallorca, where it would appear that an auction took place between Real Madrid and Barcelona presidents Florentino Pérez and Joan Laporta. Barça had reportedly made an initial offer of 15 million for the striker which Madrid had the option to match, and in the end it was Pérez who walked away with the spoils after buying up Mallorca's half of his rights. The African player of the year will not join Camacho's squad this year though as they already have the maximum three non-EU players, and he is expected to stay on loan at San Moix for another season. But then Atlético Madrid boss Miguel Angel Gil called at Florentino's door..... Series two next month?
The deal leaves Barcelona without the number nine they have been looking for, and with Baros also proving too expensive, all eyes are turning back to Luis Fabiano, Luque and Mista. Milito is also an attainable goal for the central defensive position now that Zaragoza have agreed to buy up 100% of his rights. To make room, Kluivert has taken the hint and joined Newcastle, although Barça have had to top up his salary, so we have heard.
Elsewhere Atlético have tied up Luccin "just" subject to a bank guarantee (where have we heard that before?), and with Gravesen out of their financial reach, Colsa has agreed terms to return early from his loan at Mallorca. A striker should join soon, and if Barça's unsettled Saviola (now proud possessor of a Spanish passport) proves too expensive, Manchester United's Diego Forlán could be the man. Meanwhile Valencia have completed the purchase of two more Italian internationals, Di Vaio and Moretti, and Deportivo are now asking about Coloccini as a possible replacement for Moroccan international Naybet, who will move to Qatar. (22.07.04)