MILAN – A representative for Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala has announced a deal with Inter Milan for Samuel Eto'o that should make the Cameroon striker the highest paid footballer in the world.
''We have closed the deal, and within 45 minutes there will be an official announcement,'' German Tkachenko told the Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday, adding that there were still some formalities to put in order - with Eto'o due to undergo a medical exam in Rome on Wednesday.
Anzhi is expected to give Eto'o a three-year contract worth ?20 million ($29 million) net per season, eclipsing the estimated ?12 million ($17.4 million) that Cristiano Ronaldo earns at Real Madrid and the ?10.5 million ($15.2 million) that Lionel Messi is paid by Barcelona.
After a week of negotiations in Milan, the transfer fee was reportedly set at ?27 million ($39 million).
Anzhi, from the troubled southern Russian province of Dagestan, is owned by billionaire oil tycoon Suleiman Kerimov.
At 30, Eto'o is still in his prime, but he has already won three Champions League titles - two with Barcelona and one with Inter - and is apparently excited about playing in the developing Russian league.
In Forbes magazine's latest list of the world's richest people, Kerimov's net worth was estimated at $7.8 billion, tying him for 118th place with Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi and family.
Anzhi's captain is 38-year-old Roberto Carlos, once the standout left back for Brazil.
Inter has been linked with Diego Forlan of Atletico Madrid, Ezequiel Lavezzi of Napoli or Carlos Tevez of Manchester City as a replacement for Eto'o. Inter's other forwards are Giampaolo Pazzini, Diego Milito and Goran Pandev.
Inter opens the Serie A season against Lecce on Sunday.
Eto'o led Inter with 37 goals in all competitions last season, having replaced Milito as the club's biggest scoring threat. He was a key member of the Inter side that won the Champions League in 2010, often accepting an attacking midfield or defensive role for then-Inter coach Jose Mourinho.
Before joining Inter in 2009, Eto'o played five seasons with Barcelona.
Makhachkala is plagued by violence from insurgency that has spread across the North Caucasus after two separatist wars in Dagestan's neighboring region of Chechnya.
Anzhi players live and train at a training camp outside Moscow and travel to Makhachkala for home games, flying about 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) 15 times a season.