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Will Everton make Alexandre Pato purchase after Samuel Eto’o exit?

Everton, 16/1 shots with Coral for a top six finish this season, are lining up ex-AC Milan and Corinthians striker Alexandre Pato to replace the departed Samuel Eto’o at Goodison Park.

Reports claim the 25-year-old forward, who has 27 caps and 10 goals for Brazil, has been identified by Toffees boss Roberto Martinez as an extra attacking option which may help to ease the burden on top scorer and record signing Romelu Lukaku.

With speculation surrounding the future of another of Everton’s Belgian stars, Kevin Mirallas, a marquee signing like Pato could give the blue half of Merseyside a much-needed lift.

The Toffees have struggled in Martinez’s second season at the helm, with ageing defenders Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka drawing criticism. Only relegation-threatened Burnley and QPR, who were both promoted last term, have conceded more Premier League goals during this campaign so far.

Finding the net has not been difficult for Everton, however, as they are the top scorers in the current bottom half with 30 from 22 matches. Supplementing Lukaku’s six Premier League strikes are fellow forwards Mirallas and Naismith with five apiece.

Nicknamed ‘the Duck’, Pato grabbed 63 goals in 150 appearances for AC Milan across all competitions before returning to his homeland in January 2013. Although contracted to Corinthians, he has been on loan at fellow Brazilian Serie A side Sao Paulo during the last year.

Martinez also has Ivorian frontman Arouna Kone to choose from in attack, though he has not long returned from a serious knee injury. Eto’o was lured away from Merseyside by Sampdoria, meanwhile, and the reported prospect of a coaching role.

Pato’s European experience may appeal to Everton, who are still in the Europa League, and rated as 14/1 chances to lift the trophy (the same price as holders Sevilla). Moving to Merseyside and helping the Toffees to win that continental competition could catapult both the club and player back into the Champions League.