Many had been expecting Alexandre Pato to be a Chelsea player by now, but if latest reports are to be believed, he's yet to even leave Brazil, let alone sign with the Blues. In fact, when asked about the transfer, Corinthians director Eduardo Ferreira simply shrugged his shoulders. At least I imagine he did while answering journalists' questions after arriving back in São Paulo from their pre-season training camp in Florida.
"It's in the hands of the president, but we have nothing yet. Wait."
-Eduardo Ferreira; source: Globo via Google Translate
Apparently what's holding up the deal is Chelsea's insistence on a six-month loan (with option to buy) rather than a straightforward purchase. This makes plenty of sense from our end — if we are to saddle ourselves with another project, at least we have an easy out a la Falcao — but it puts Corinthians into an awkward situation where they risk losing Pato without any compensation. Pato's contract will be up at the end of the year, which means that he'll be available to discuss terms for pre-contracts with other teams in July (the Brazilian football calendar's July is our January when it comes to the fiscal year). If Chelsea pass on the option, Pato can agree to a free transfer with someone else. While Corinthians do want him off their books, they'd obviously prefer to receive at least a little bit of compensation for their troubles. So the story goes that Pato might extend his contract with Corinthians first, then come on loan. It's not all that dissimilar to what Chelsea do with many of our loanees (see: Victor Moses, others).
Meanwhile, other sources are claiming that Pato will be in London by Wednesday at the latest, presumably to take his medical and sign a contract. More dubious sources are claiming it could even be as soon as today (Tuesday). The transfer window closes 11pm GMT on Monday (Feb 1), so we better get moving here if we want this thing to finish in time.
Sportv reporting that Pato will probably go to England on Wednesday, he may extend his Corinthians contract before joining #CFC on a loan.— Paulo Freitas (@Cynegeticus) January 26, 2016
Despite not taking part in the USA tour, Pato has apparently kept in shape by training at Corinthians' training ground, so he might come up to speed fairly quickly at Chelsea (or wherever he ends up). If we move fast enough, maybe he'll even be available for Sunday's FA Cup match at MK Dons?