Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eto'o 'agrees' Inter Milan switch

Samuel Eto'o
Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola says Eto'o leaving is "best for the club"

Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o's has reached an agreement with Inter Milan to join the Italian champions, according to his agent.

Barca have had an offer of about £38m plus Eto'o, in exchange for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, accepted while Alexander Hleb will also join Inter on loan.

"The deal is sealed, next week he will start working with Inter," said the 28-year-old's agent Josep Maria Mesalles.

"When he signs the contract he will be at (coach) Jose Mourinho's disposal."

Reports suggest Eto'o has agreed a five-year deal with Inter and will earn about £9.6m a season. It brings an end to his five-year stay at the Nou Camp.

"It's done," said Mesalles. "We have reached an agreement with Inter. Samuel talked to Mourinho and is very happy to be wearing the Nerazzurri shirt. All the details have been filed.

"It's complete harmony with us and the Nerazzurri club. We are very happy and satisfied. The deal's sealed, next week he will start working with Inter.

The agreement should give the green light for Ibrahimovic's move in the opposite direction, despite the 27-year-old Sweden striker picking up a wrist injury during Inter's friendly defeat by Chelsea on Tuesday.

Inter and Barca have yet to confirm the news but the Italians announced on Thursday that Ibrahimovic's injury is not as serious as first feared.

Inter president Massimo Moratti said on Tuesday: "Until things are wrapped up, there's nothing to say but I am confident.

"Eto'o is one of the most important players on the market. Along with Ibra, he's one of the most wanted. It's a good chance for us to have another champion."

Ibrahimovic was the top scorer in Serie A last season and Moratti had nothing but praise for the 27-year-old.

"He's a very serious professional," he said of the Swedish international. "He has always behaved well with us.

"He helped us win the championship and he was top scorer last year."

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who transfer-listed Eto'o last year, has said he believes the Cameroon striker should leave the club.

"I am convinced that the best thing for Barca is for Eto'o to leave," stated Guardiola. "Could I be mistaken? Maybe so. But I am here to make these decisions."

Guardiola added Eto'o's departure would be good for the team.

"I feel that it is best for the club and the team. It's a question of feelings," said Guardiola. "I am not here to change anyone's character, but I can decide on which players I want to count on for the season.

"After what we won, we had to change the dressing room. I took this decision from my experience as a footballer."

Eto'o had been on the verge of a deal with Manchester City but Mark Hughes's side withdrew their interest last week.

The forward signed for Barcelona from Mallorca for £16m in 2004.

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