Chelsea's rumoured interest in Corinthians striker Alexandre Pato has been the talk of the town.
Some reports had gone as far as claiming that not only do we have a verbal agreement, but that we would have him signed and registered and ready to go by this weekend's Arsenal match. Most likely that's not happening now (he would have to be registered by Friday). Not to mention, Pato's last competitive match was back in November, so he'd most likely need some time to get match fit. Still, that doesn't mean the interest wasn't real -- there's far too much smoke for there to be no fire.
Sure enough, Pato's agent Gilmar Veloz has confirmed the Chelsea links (and more!) in comments to Brazilian journalist Paulo Vinícius Coelho today.
"The 'guys' are working on getting an offer, that haven't come to Corinthians yet. January's market is too limited. Chelsea, Liverpool, Sporting, Benfica - the four of them have a chance [to have Pato]."
-Gilmar Veloz; Source: UOL Esporte
The 'guys' mentioned by Gilmar Veloz are supposedly Kia Joorabchian and Giuliano Bertolucci, who are brokering Pato's transfer to an European club. Joorabchian is not an unfamiliar name when it comes to Chelsea and Abramovich, though he is most famous for brokering Carlos Tévez and Javier Mascherano's transfer to West Ham in 2006 that was marred by controversy and investigations about third-party ownership in England. Bertolucci is also a familiar name: he represents Chelsea players Oscar, Ramires and Willian and may have been involved in last summer's Nathan and Kenedy transfers as well.
Veloz's words maintain our hope that Pato might head somewhere else other than Chelsea, although of the four rumoured clubs interested on him, we are probably the ones who could offer the best financial package. Corinthians are determined to sell the player rather than keep him on their books and just loan him out, which possibly rules out Sporting CP, whose interest was reported by newspaper A Bola earlier today.
In any case, the rumour won't die down until Pato moves on from Corinthians. Until then, we should grab a seat and hope for the best.