BREAKING NEWS: Chelsea capture Brazil forward Alexandre Pato on loan
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | January 28, 2016
Blues bag ‘Duck’ deal
Chelsea have completed the loan sign of Brazil forward Alexandre Pato from parent club Corinthians until the end of the season.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) January 29, 2016
“I am so happy to sign for Chelsea. It is a dream for me. I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know my new teammates and cannot wait to play,” Pato told the club’s official website. “I thank Chelsea for their support and hope I can repay this faith to the club and its fans.”
Blues caretaker Guus Hiddink dismissed pundits’ opinions that bringing in Pato is a punt. “It is not a gamble,” he insisted. “Coming on loan makes it possible to have a good view on him. We will give him all the support in this and it is up to him.
“On loan is good for everyone to see whether he is happy with this club and whether the club is happy with him after this few months. He has to settle, we will give him all the time to do that and get used to a very demanding league.”
Chelsea, 11/5 with Coral for a top six finish, are understood to have an option to sign 26-year-old ex-AC Milan attacker Pato, who is nicknamed ‘the duck’, on a permanent deal this summer.
A member of Brazil’s 2009 Confederations Cup winning squad, Pato also has Bronze and Silver medals earned with the Samba Boys from the last two Olympic Games. He has 27 senior caps and 10 international goals, and may be targeting a call-up for the Copa America centenary this summer.
Pato compatriots already at Bridge
Despite the sale of Ramires to Jiangsu Suning this winter, Chelsea’s squad still contains a few of Pato’s fellow countrymen.
At Stamford Bridge, he will link up with Willian, Oscar and Kenedy – all of whom are set to help supply Pato with chances in front of goal.
Blues caretaker Guus Hiddink is short of striking options because Radamael Falcao, another South American loan signing, lacks any form or match fitness.
With Loic Remy linked with a move away from the Bridge, that leaves Brazilian-born Spain striker Diego Costa, who has had persistent hamstring issues over the last couple of years, as the only other option to lead the attack.
Pato had been at Sao Paulo
During a two-year temporary stint with Sao Paulo, Pato managed to net 38 goals in almost 100 appearances, but no permanent move materialised with the player reportedly seeking a return to Europe.
In five years with AC Milan (January 2008-2013), his 63 strikes in 150 outings helped the Rossoneri to the 2010/11 Serie A title. Pato turned out just 25 times following that Scudetto success, however.
The last striker with San Siro connections signed by Chelsea – a certain Andriy Shevchenko – turned out to be a flop. Pato now gets his chance to have a crack at the Premier League, and his Champions League experience will also be welcome.
Should this stint with the Blues prove successful, it may give Pato a platform to return as an international regular. Brazil boss Dunga has been experimenting with centre forwards, using the likes of 35-year-old Ricardo Oliveira and China-based Diego Tardelli in the last 12 months.