Alexandre Pato has arrived at Chelsea on loan from Corinthians, raising questions as to where exactly the Brazilian will fit into Guus Hiddink’s squad.
The 26-year-old, who will spend the rest of the season at Stamford Bridge, has operated as an out-and-out striker for most of his career but boasts an array of talents suited to any position in the attacking third.
Many will remember Pato from his spell in the Serie A as a quick, skilful and clinical forward with the ability and awareness to create opportunities both for himself and his teammates.
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Although he is predominantly right-footed, the former AC Milan prodigy has proved throughout his career that he is capable of striking the ball and dribbling with either foot to great effect.
Pato could prove to be an extremely versatile acquisition. He has the necessary qualities to act as an alternative option for Hiddink in any of the front four roles in his 4-2-3-1 setup, but only if he can show he has retained the impressive stamina of his earlier days.
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The Brazilian's style of play has remained virtually unchanged throughout the course of his career, but an injury-plagued spell between 2011 and 2013 has undoubtedly hampered his consistency and stifled his potential.
By comparing his stunning run and finish for Milan against Barcelona in 2011 (see below) with his current mobility, it's clear the ex-wonderkid’s susceptibility to knocks and strains has since led to a slight dip in his overall speed.
He remains sufficiently fleet of foot to beat most markers with a simple kick and run manoeuvre, but there is little doubt he lacks the explosive speed he once had.
However, Chelsea will ultimately be more concerned about Pato's goalscoring form and keeping him off the treatment table than measuring his top speed.
Where is Pato's best role?
The former Brazil international is a natural-born goalscorer, but he will have to work hard and remain patient if wants to loosen Diego Costa’s firm grip on the role of first-choice striker.
Hiddink will likely opt to deploy Pato as a super-sub as long as the Spanish hitman is available for selection, so he may need to push for minutes in other positions instead.
With Eden Hazard and Pedro both continuing to disappoint, the wide left role is arguably the most insecure of the three creative midfield slots in the Chelsea team.
Even though Pato has rarely been used out wide during his senior career, the freedom to roam alongside Oscar, Willian and company is likely to compliment his game if he can assimilate to their movement.
The left midfield position in the Chelsea system is hardly akin to a traditional winger either, which should offer Pato the right to cut inside and keep defenders guessing while utilising his creativity and shooting from outside the area.
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