Only four years ago, Alexandre Pato was one of the most feared strikers in Europe with his deadly concoction of electric pace and lethal finishing. The Brazilian forward was a regular goalscorer for his country and Italian juggernauts AC Milan.
Whilst Pato may not be reaching those dizzy heights anymore, there is little doubt he is still a clinical forward in front of goal.
After five years at AC Milan, which saw 63 goals in 150 appearances, Pato returned to Brazilian football in 2012. The forward made a clumsy start to the new season so the Milanese club were quick to accept Corinthians’ £12 million offer.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250 word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
However, the 26-year-old’s move proved an absolute nightmare.
Despite scoring with his first touch as a Corinthians player, Pato came under furious criticism four months into his tenure after missing two open goals against Goias. Club manager Tite mercilessly stated in the post-match interview: "This pressure comes from his high transfer fee."
Pato’s nightmare came to boiling point in October 2013, when he missed the final penalty in a shootout that knocked the club out of the Copa do Brasil. Some sources described the incident as "horrific", after his attempted panenka was easily caught by ex-AC Milan teammate Dida.
Since his train wreck of a 2013 season, Pato has spent the last two calendar years on loan at Sao Paulo. The move has proven a resounding success, with the Brazil international rediscovering his scoring touch with 37 strikes in 94 appearances.
His success at Sao Paulo has come at a price for Corinthians, who still have to fund half of Pato’s £68,000-per-week salary.
However, according to the Daily Mail, Pato’s next destination could be the Premier League, in particular West Ham. The paper understands that club president Roberto de Andrade is looking to offload the striker in January to the London-based outfit.
Moreover, the links with West Ham have come particularly to the forefront after Pato himself stated in the summer that he is “keen” to play “in one of the big cities” in England.
The Hammers seem the most likely suitors and the Brazilian may prove a replacement for the misfiring Enner Valencia. Furthermore, his pace and one-on-one ability may greatly compliment the aerial dominance of Andy Carroll, potentially forming a lethal partnership.
Slaven Bilic's side are currently third in the Premier League after an electric start to the new season.
And while some might argue West Ham already have enough firepower to continue their form, there is little doubt the finishing prowess of Pato could be used to great effect when supplied by the creative talents that the east Londoners boast.