If Napoli were to beat Premier League duo Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to the signature of Sao Paolo loanee Alexandre Pato, then it could prove decisive in determining the destination of next year’s Serie A title.
The Brazilian, who missed out on a place in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s 23 man World Cup squad, is said to be keen on returning to Europe after impressing back in his native homeland with both Sao Paolo and Corinthians, having started tot struggle at AC Milan.
During his days at the San Siro he had been widely tipped as one of the most promising and potent young strikers in modern football, but his erratic form, coupled with the many injuries he sustained, meant a return to Brazil was the only real option to ignite a faltering career. Now, after finding his form once again, Pato could be set for a move to Rafael Benitez’s Napoli, who are said to be keen on the prospect of forming a devastating strike partnership consisting of him and Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain.
The Italian club still possess funds from the sale of Edinson Cavani to Paris Saint-Germain last summer, and would use them to make parent club Corinthians an offer difficult to refuse. At 24-years-old, time is still on his side and his thirst and desire to live up to the promise of old would make him a perfect fit for last year’s Coppa Italia winners.
Benitez is keen to build a dynasty over in Naples, and has a track record of coaxing the best from forwards given the form of Higuain last campaign and Fernando Torres during his days with the Spaniard with Liverpool at Anfield.
The disappointment of missing out on participating in a World Cup on home soil could also be used as another motivational factor for the youngster, who could use the move to boost his chances of playing in the next tournament in four years time in Russia.
In his initial stint in Italy, Pato found the net 63 times in 150 games, and hit double figures in three consecutive years spanning from 2008 to 2011. However once injuries struck he found it hard to replicate that form, and left after scoring just six goals in his final two years with the Rossenieri, with just a solitary goal coming in the league.
Pato needs Napoli, and Napoli need Pato. Failure to sign him if they have the chance could prove a costly mistake.
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