Former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has revealed he almost signed superstar striker Samuel Eto’o before his transfer to Barcelona in 2004 – only for chairman Phil Gartside to veto the move.
Allardyce managed the Trotters between 1999 and 2007 and is widely recognised as their most successful manager in recent times.
However, perhaps his biggest achievement is one that he wasn’t allowed to pull off, with Big Sam telling Sky he had set up a shock deal for Cameroon superstar Eto’o, only for the £6.5million fee to prove a stumbling block.
‘He was at Mallorca and I had to try and convince the chairman at the time that €8million (£6.5million) would have been the best €8million he’d ever spent and this player would be worth £20-£25million in the future,’ Allardyce, who now manages West Ham, revealed.
Sam Allardyce was not able to justify the fee for Eto’o (Picture: Action Images) ‘The thing was, we could have got him to come to England and at that particular time he would have been a bit of a capture.’
It is thought that Bolton’s attempts to sign Eto’o came in 2001 after he had joined Mallorca on a permanent deal following a successful loan spell from Real Madrid.
Eto’o had just scored 11 goals in 28 matches and was starting to get a reputation around Spain as a promising prospect.
Bolton, who were relegated to the Championship last season, opted not to sign the then 20-year-old for the bargain price tag and he went on to join Barcelona for £24million before joining Inter Milan as part of a £46million transfer involving Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Eto’o, who has won three Champions League titles, is now the highest paid professional footballer in the world at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, and boasts a club goalscoring record of 213 strikes in 379 matches.