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Allardyce: Bolton missed chance to sign Eto’o because Gartside was ‘too tight’

08:30 12 January 2013

Samuel Eto'o during his time at Inter Milan. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

Samuel Eto'o during his time at Inter Milan. Photo: Nick Potts/PA

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Transfer news: West Ham boss Sam Allardyce claims Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside snubbed the chance to sign ex-Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o for just €8million during his time at the club.

Allardyce was hired as Bolton manager in 1999 and spent eight years at the Reebok Stadium before spells at Newcastle, Blackburn and now West Ham.

The 58-year-old gained a reputation for reinvigorating veteran talents such as Youri Djorkaeff, Jay-Jay Okocha and Ivan Campo during his time with the Trotters.

And he claims he would have added Eto’o to his roster of big name stars if it weren’t for Gartside’s refusal to meet the fee wanted by his former club Mallorca at the time.

“We could have got Eto’o for €8m from Mallorca,” said Allardyce.

“But the chairman was too tight to pay at the time, even though I said ‘here’s a £20m player for you’.”

Eto’o, who now plays for wealthy Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, went on to become one of the world’s best strikers, winning a glut of silverware at Barcelona and Inter Milan and a record four African Player of the Year titles.

Barcelona shelled out €24million to take the Cameroon international from Mallorca in 2004 before he moved to Inter in part of the deal that saw Zlatan Ibrahimovic go the other way five years later.

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