When he burst onto the scene in 2008 with AC Milan, Alexandre Pato was seen as one of European football's brightest prospects.
Now, after a difficult period which saw him return to his native Brazil, the striker is eyeing a return to Europe with the Premier League his preferred destination. Chelsea have been frequently linked with a move, but the west Londoners aren't the club for him.
This isn’t the first time Pato has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge. During his early 20’s, his excellent form in Serie A saw him emerge a £30 million target for the Blues.
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A transfer never materialised for the now 26-year-old, though, as injuries and poor form plagued his 2011/12 season. As a result, Milan sold him to Corinthians for £12.2 million, the highest fee spent on a player by a Brazilian club.
Pato endured a difficult start at his new club and became an unpopular figure among supporters. When Mano Menezes became the new manager, he immediately wanted the forward gone.
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 times in 2015.
Unsurprisingly, this has prompted speculation surrounding a January move. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been rumoured to be interested in the striker, and with a fee likely to be demanded of around £10-£15 million, all three would have the financial power to prise the Brazilian.
Despite being favourites for his signature, Pato is not the man Chelsea need. Diego Costa has failed to get going this season, scoring only five league goals, though his double against Watford last weekend suggested he may be returning to some kind of form.
The Spaniard is likely to remain as Guus Hiddink’s first-choice striker given to his undoubted ability as a target man. The most successful Chelsea sides have always operated with a focal point, Didier Drogba a prime example.
Pato’s game is based primarily around his pace and ability to run in behind defenders, which wouldn't work well with the trio of attackers who operate in behind due to their similar traits.
The Brazilian’s possible arrival would most likely lead to the termination of Radamel Falcao's contract - a move the club's supporters would welcome given the Columbian's struggle in west London.
Pato would be the club’s second choice striker at most, so if Hiddink wants a striker capable of challenging Costa as a first team regular, the Brazilian should not be his focus.
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