Alexandre Pato had supposedly kept in shape over the winter (which is the offseason in Brazilian football), but soon after he arrived at Chelsea on loan from Corinthians, Guus Hiddink revealed that the forward was put on a pre-season fitness training regime and wasn't expected to be anywhere near match-fit for about 6 weeks. The target date set back then for his availability was Wednesday's match against PSG, and sure enough, Pato has progressed to bench duty recently and will presumably be ready for match action this week.
So that's fine and good, but still raises a couple eyebrows when it comes to figuring out just why we went to the trouble of signing him so late in the window, especially if we weren't going to sell Loic Remy as was rumored. Bertrand Traore has proven a more than capable backup to Diego Costa, just as we suspected all along that he would. So what's the point of a Pato anyway? (The same story could be written with Falcao instead of Pato, too, just to add to the head-scratching nature of this whole enterprise.)
Pato's agent doesn't really have an answer to that question, but he does maintain that it's all a "normal" situation. Not that he would say anything else regardless.
"It's not up to Pato. His team has players who were already there, he needs to get a sequence, not to come and play. It's the manager who decides. It's a normal situation, where you get to a club which, since we arrived, only wins."
"Since he arrived, he trains with all the group, but only physically. After the third week, he started to get to the level of the others. It's the second game he travels to. It's normal, the team is scoring goals."
"There was nothing about [Hiddink not liking Pato], actually it's the opposite. He (Hiddink) received Pato very well, gave an interview talking about the signing. It's not like here in Brazil, where they arrive and they are picked to play. He was clear: he has to be in the same level as all the others are, to know how the system is, to know how they play."
-Gilmar Veloz; source: Rádio Bandeirantes via Sport Witness
Chelsea have a minimum of 11 games left this season, plus a few more should we progress in either the FA Cup or the Champions League. Time is running out for Pato to make any sort of impact, however good his and our intentions may be.