Following a particularly underwhelming and strange summer -- one must certainly question the rationale behind Papy Djilobodji's anomalous transfer -- Chelsea supporters observed a January transfer window devoid of credence that the club would register any significant signings. Despite suggestions that the highly coveted Alex Teixeira could soon become the latest addition of Chelsea's Brazilian contingent, this speculation has failed to materialise into purposeful action. Instead, the one signing that will be completed ahead of Monday's deadline is... Alexandre Pato. That certainly will not stop questions being asked of Chelsea's hierarchy.
At the height of his oscillating career, Pato had established himself as the most exhilarating prospect in European football -- his prominence best reflected by his indelible solo goal against Barcelona in 2011. It appeared that his destiny was unequivocal; he was preordained to become an AC Milan icon following in the venerable footsteps of Marco van Basten, Gunnar Nordah and most recently Andriy Shevchenko.
Alas, his rapid rise to distinction was swiftly inhibited by injuries. Between 2010 and 2012 he sustained over 12 muscle injuries and this period of continuous suffering accordingly concluded his Milan career. Despite recovering he was unable to regain ownership of a place in the starting eleven and returned to his native Brazil.
Throughout his three-year tenure in Brazil, Pato scored 55 goals in 157 appearances, with 26 of those coming last season. This certainly is an earnest accomplishment and although the vigour of the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A does not parallel that of the Barclays Premier League, his career tally of 130 goals is a convenient indication of his attacking prowess.
Regardless of the reputable record he flaunts, considerable scepticism surrounds his transfer. One consensus is that his arrival reaffirms Chelsea's tendency to acquire strikers who have passed the pinnacle of their footballing abilities - players such as Vialli, Shevchenko, Torres and Falcao. Additionally, whilst languishing in the disappointment of the team's worst campaign under Roman's ownership, many believe that his presence will further hinder the youngsters' already finite opportunities at the club.
An underlying risk that is associated with his signature is Corinthians' pertinacious endeavour to discard the 26-year-old. As a prestigious individual, it was anticipated that his emergence would prompt wide-spread enthusiasm amongst Corinthians supporters. Rather infamously, Pato failed to fulfill these expectations and this serves as one of several explanations behind his departure.
"Everyone knows that Corinthians, pretend, want and pray day and night to sell Pato. Next year he has to perform and respect what he agreed to. The choices are his, not mine."
"Logically I would not have done [the negotiation] again. Without knowing the future, it's obvious. But at that time he was everything we wanted in an athlete, ideal age, he was from here, he had played in Europe, he was on the Selecao. I would have given him five years and then at 28, we could have sold him."
"Obviously, I regret it, looking at the outcome. But at the time, most of my critics even agreed. He had all the ingredients for success. But it didn't work. The blame of not working out falls 100 percent on the athlete. All that could have been done for him technically was done. Now with Sao Paolo, he has had flashes in big matches, but his technique has been below average."
-Roberto de Andrade, Corinthians president; July 2015
These comments are far from desirable and it induces us to question (yet again) the thesis behind such a confounding transfer. Also, the fact that Chelsea have opted to sign Pato on a six-month loan as opposed to a permanent deal does represent the sense of venture affiliated with the signing. In many ways it begins to demonstrate that Chelsea's foremost echelons do not profoundly believe that the transfer will elicit a constructive impact, otherwise his services would have been acquired on a permanent basis.
Historically, Chelsea's loan deals have failed to flourish; even before Falcao, Maniche and Ricardo Quaresma were prime examples of this unpropitious pattern. We must hope that Alexandre Pato embodies the exception to this most unfavourable sequence.
Nevertheless, Alexandre Pato's imminent Chelsea Transfer does exude his elation and relief and perhaps a new start. The Brazilian's move to England consummates a personal dream of his.
"One day, I would like to come to England because I think the championship [the Premier League] is the No1 in the world."
-Alexandre Pato; December 2015
The Premier League is renowned globally for its unrivalled intensity and blistering tempo. These qualities ensure the league remains distinctive from other European divisions, and it appears Pato's proficiency accommodates well with these requirements. Undisputedly, his foremost quality is rapidity, a skill he utilizes when running behind defensive structures. Technically Pato is incredibly competent, despite the harsh assessment of his club president, and he provides Chelsea's attack with a dissimilar dimension to Costa's physical approach.
Despite the wealth of experience that he has obtained over the course of his 10-year career, he remains relatively young. Diego Costa is 27 and both Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao are 29; with Patrick Bamford prepared to depart the club, Pato would become the club's youngest striker. Were he to experience unexpected success and join on a permanent contract, he could be useful for several years even.
Lastly, but perhaps most significantly, Pato possesses a characteristic that was scarce during Mourinho's sixth season in charge of Chelsea Football Club, passion. When discussing his move to Chelsea, he evokes contagious ardour.
"I need to play. I don't know what else to say because I am just so happy to be here. I want to get to know my new team-mates and the players here and I really want to play for Chelsea."
-Alexandre Pato; January 2016
If his actions on the pitch correspond to the avidity he has displayed off the field, then his arrival could be incredibly auspicious. After all, he must be better than Falcao... surely?