When he burst on to the scene in 2008 with AC Milan, Alexandre Pato was seen as one of the brightest prospects in European football. Now, after a difficult period which saw him return to his native Brazil, the striker is eyeing a return to Europe, and perhaps, the Premier League. However despite rumours, Chelsea isn’t the club for him.
This isn’t the first time that Pato has been linked with a move to Chelsea. During his early 20’s, his excellent form in Serie A saw him linked with a move to the Blues for a fee as high as £30 million. This move never materialised for the now 26-year-old, as injuries and poor form combined to him scoring only one goal in the 2011/12 season. As a result, The Rossoneri sold him to Brazilian First Division side Corinthians for a fee of £12.2 million. This remains the highest spend on a player by a Brazilian club.
Pato endured a difficult start at Corinthians, and was an unpopular figure among supporters. When Mano Menezes became the new manager of Corinthians, he wanted the forward gone, unlike his predecessor Tite. A loan move to Sao Paulo revived his career. After his first season at the club where he chipped in with 12 goals in all competitions, Pato really began to rebuild his reputation, scoring 26 club goals in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, this has prompted links of a move abroad in January. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been rumoured to be interested in the striker. With a fee likely to be demanded of around £10-£15 million, all three clubs would have the financial power to buy Pato.
Despite being favourites for his signature, Pato is not the man who Chelsea need. Diego Costa has failed to get going this season, scoring only five league goals. Despite this, his double against Watford suggested he may be returning to some kind of form.
Costa is likely to remain as Guus Hiddink’s first choice striker due to his ability as a target man. The most successful Chelsea sides have always operated with a focal point, often Didier Drogba. Even when Nicolas Anelka was successful with the Blues, it was from the wing so to accommodate the Ivorian.
Pato’s game is based all around his pace and ability to run in behind defenders. This simply wouldn’t allow him to work well with the trio of attackers who operate behind the striker for Chelsea due to their similar traits. The Brazilian’s possible arrival would most likely lead to the club terminating Radamel Falcao’s loan spell from Monaco early. This would be a popular move with many of the club’s supporters, who have been unimpressed by Falcao since his move to the club
Pato would be an upgrade on Loic Remy, nothing more. He would be the club’s second choice striker at most. The only blessing is that because he has been playing in South America, he would be eligible to appear in the Champions League for the Blues, thus taking some of the pressure off Diego Costa.
If Hiddink wants a striker capable of challenging Costa for the number nine role who can also improve the Blues, Alexandre Pato is not his man.