Chelsea are in the market for another center forward, and according to ESPN Brasil, the club are turning to Brazil in order to give interim manager Guus Hiddink more options. Their report claims that Chelsea are close to finalizing a deal for former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato, who currently plays for Corinthians.
This isn't the first we've heard of a link to the Brazilian, but it's the first report which claims that a deal is somewhat close. Several years ago, a solid link to Pato would have had Chelsea fans cheering wildly, as there was a time that he was one of the most sought-after young stars in all of Europe. Then, chronic injuries took over, and Pato wound up returning to Brazil, signing for Corinthians.
While the Brazilian is still registered with Corinthians, he has spent the past two seasons on loan at Sao Paulo, as a condition of the transfer deal that took Jadson in the other direction. That loan expired in December, and Pato is not traveling with the squad to the United States, instead working on closing a deal with Chelsea, or moving to China where he'd be paid very, very well.
The good news here is that Pato seems to have put his injury woes behind him over the past few seasons, and has found a bit of form in Brazil. Still just 26 years old, he seems like a somewhat decent player to take a flyer on, if the staff believes he can stay healthy, if the transfer cost is low, and if the contract term is short. He's certainly a better option than Radamel Falcao, at the very least.
Personally, I'm not 100% sure I'd buy into these reports, as it sounds like more desperate leaks from Pato's people and Corinthians, both of whom want to see the forward move on as soon as possible. Pato is nowhere near as exciting as he would have been five years ago, and at this point, would probably be just more stuff to throw at the wall and see if it sticks. You all know what I mean by 'stuff'...