The house is said to be jinxed by the Curse of Tutankhamun because it was the former home of Lord Carnarvon who uncovered the Pharaoh’s tomb.
Lord Carnarvon had been left with a permanent limp and badly injured lungs after an accident in his racing car.
Advised by doctors to recover in a warm climate he took up work in Egyptology.
Working with well-known English archaeologist Howard Carter, the two men made the extraordinary discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun, the richest burial site ever found.
Soon after discovering the tomb of the boy Pharaoh in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, Lord Carnavon died from an infected mosquito bite in Cairo’s Savoy Continental Hotel.
This unexpected death, so soon after the tomb had been opened, gave way to the myth that he was cursed for disturbing the Pharaoh’s eternal peace.
The legend was perpetuated when Lord Carnarvon’s nephew died months later after falling down a flight of steps at the villa in Italy.
Then in 2001, former Gucci model and heiress Countess Francesca Agusta, disappeared from the cliff-top villa now being sized up by the footballer.
According to witnesses, she flew into a tranquilizer and whisky-fuelled rage and stormed out in a bathrobe and slippers, saying: ‘I’m going for a swim’.
Three weeks later, her body washed up near the southern French town of Saint-Tropez.
The 1,100sqm palazzo – Villa Altachiara – comes with 40 rooms and a swimming pool and is surrounded by 30,000sqm of parkland on the Tyrrhenian coast near the fishing village of Portofino.
Experts say it needs up to €3million (£2.2million) of renovation work to restore it to its former glory.
The 33-year-old Cameroon star – who moved to Italy in January and is currently living in a hotel – is said to be smitten with the villa, despite its tragic history.
One estate agent – who asked not to be named – told local media: ‘He knows the history, everyone around here knows the history.
‘Some say the spirit of Countess Francesca Vacca Agusta still walks the estate looking for her husband and you can her shouting for him on the wind.
‘But Eto’o still loves the house and sees a chance to make a palace of his own there.’