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Eto'o off to Uzbekistan?
by Joe Addison, July 18th, 2008 11:30AM
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[TRANSFER TALK] What initially seemed to be nothing more than a PR stunt is now a story with some legitimacy. Samuel Eto'o arrived in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, to discuss a proposed move to Kuruvchi, the current leader of the Uzbek League.

Earlier this week, the club made an announcement that a deal had already been reached with the player.

"The defining moment of the transfer was not money," the club's sporting director, Bahtier Babayev, told the press, "but the friendly mutual relations between the management of our club and Barcelona. The personal friendship between presidents of the clubs has noticeably lowered the transfer fee."

Kuruvchi has since backed down from its claims that the 27-year-old Cameroon forward has already signed for the club but remains adamant that it is leading the chase. Eto'o acknowledged the visit was a serious one.

"I have several good offers from various clubs at present," the Cameroonian international said. "I'm planning to return to Barcelona and starting from Saturday I will consider all my options, including the one from Kuruvchi."

The developments are an astonishing twist in Eto'o's ongoing transfer saga. Earlier this summer, new Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola informed the striker that his services were no longer needed at the Camp Nou. Chelsea and AC Milan both expressed interest in the 27-year-old, and it was thought that Eto'o would move to England or Italy.

Kuruvchi has reportedly offered Eto'o a short but high-paying contract. The side hopes to have the forward for its Asian Champions League knockout campaign, which resumes with a quarterfinal series against Iranian side Saipa in September.

Barcelona has been relatively quiet on the matter. A spokesperson said, "Nobody at the club knows anything about this and I really don't think it is very likely."



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