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Samuel Eto’o makes Everton exit with Sampdoria switch

Veteran striker Samuel Eto’o has left Everton, 16/1 shots with Coral for a top six finish, for Sampdoria, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Genoa-based club.

The 33-year-old previously starred in Serie A with Inter Milan during a two-season spell (2009-2011) where he won a historic Champions League, Coppa Italia and top-flight treble under Jose Mourinho.

Toffees boss Roberto Martinez only signed Eto’o on a free transfer from Chelsea last summer, and praised the player. “We thank Samuel for his efforts and for bringing his know-how to the team and to Finch Farm where he passed on some of his terrific experience to all of the young players in particular,” said the Spaniard. “The memory of his performances in Europe stand out especially.”

Having retired from internationals following the World Cup, Cameroon record scorer Eto’o played 20 matches for Everton across all competitions, scoring four times, and now moves to high-flying Sampdoria, who sit fifth in Serie A, two points shy of a Champions League place.

Many pundits wondered if the Genoese team could maintain their magnificent start to the campaign when top scorer Manolo Gabbiadini was bought by Napoli earlier in the winter window. In capturing Eto’o, however, they have an experienced replacement and proven Serie A scorer.

Sampdoria have also swooped for Udinese’s Colombia international forward Luis Muriel in a bid to replace Gabbiadini’s goals, so the burden will not just fall on Eto’o. Ex-Fulham loanee Stefano Okaka Chuka is also on their books.

Losing Eto’o does leave Martinez a little short in the striker department, though the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith can operate up front alongside leading marksman and record Toffees signing Romelu Lukaku.

Ivorian frontman Arouna Kone remains at Goodison Park, despite speculation mounting that he would leave in the winter window on loan to help rebuild his match fitness after coming back from a serious injury. Martinez’s men sit 12th in the Premier League, but are massively odds-on at 1/20 to finish in the top half.