Chelsea take lead in chase for Pato
Chelsea have joined the list of elite Premier League clubs being linked with Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato. The 26-year-old is a reported transfer target of Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United – all clubs with their own need to bolster their attacks. But Chelsea look to have taken the lead in the race for Pato’s signature after he was pictured at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday during the Blues’ Champions League match against Porto.
LONDON RED OR BLUE?
His presence in the stands has sparked speculation that a move from Sao Paolo to London will be completed in January. The question is, whether Pato will be playing in red or blue given Arsene Wenger’s links with the player just last month that suggested Pato would be playing at the Emirates from January. The Arsenal boss had a meeting in November with Corinthians’ director of football and former Gunners’ midfielder, Edu Gaspar, who said: “I wasn’t there to tout him [Pato] around but if people ask about him, I’m going to answer.” He continued: “I talked and they asked questions – not just about him, but about a few of our players. They know them well. “I had lunch with Arsene Wenger and he asked about [Pato] and about others.”
MAN UTD OR LIVERPOOL?
Pato is currently on loan at Sao Paolo from Corinthians and was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford during the summer transfer window, which the player himself confirmed, saying: “I won’t lie: two hours before the deadline I had a really good offer from Manchester United. “I was expecting it, but actually only found out about it afterwards.” Liverpool’s new boss Jurgen Klopp is also reported to be a long term admirer of the player and according to the Corinthian’s club president Robero de Andrade “an agreement in principle” between the clubs has been reached for Pato’s transfer.
‘AGREEMENT IN PRINCIPLE’
Once one of the most exciting prospects in world football, Pato made his name during a five year spell at AC Milan where he scored 63 goals in 150 games before returning to Brazil in 2013 for £12 million. The striker is reported to be extremely keen on a move back to Europe to reignite his international prospects. De Andrade said: “There is an agreement in principle with Liverpool for the transfer in the coming weeks,” adding: “Pato had long expressed a desire to return to Europe. “Liverpool await, there are a few missing details, but Klopp will have a new reinforcement and for Pato the Premier League will be a new springboard.”
The striker has 27 caps for Brazil and has scored ten goals for his country. For Klopp – as too Mourinho, Wenger, Van Gaal, etc – he could be the answer to Liverpool’s striking woes given the recurrence and frequency of injuries to their attackers with Danny Ings ruled out for the season, Christian Benteke a regular in the dressing room and growing concerns about Daniel Sturridge’s physical and psychological robustness after a series of long term injuries. Sturridge featured in the last couple of games for the Reds but is already ruled out of their next match having picked up a hamstring injury in the defeat against Newcastle.
By: Joe Cahal