As the January transfer window draws to a close, Chelsea are nearing towards a deal for former AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato. The Brazil international is still just 26 years old and has plenty to offer, especially considering the lacklustre form of Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy.
While Pato might not displace Costa in the starting line-up, he can still influence Chelsea’s season and could even fire them into a European spot by the end of the campaign. Chelsea are looking much improved under Guus Hiddink and could still achieve a Europa League finish – here’s why Pato’s addition will be key to their chances.
Ultimately, Chelsea don’t have a competent backup striker – Alexandre Pato would solve that problem. Diego Costa seems to have regained his form but the Spain international’s temperament will worry Hiddink and his staff. The striker seems to get himself into trouble on a regular basis and may find himself suspended if he cannot control his anger. However, Pato is a more than suitable backup to Costa and he would also be willing to come on off the bench when Costa is fit – something that not every striker is willing to do.
As of 29th January, Chelsea are 5/2 with 32red.com to finish in the top six and the Costa/Pato duo would certainly give them a much better chance of achieving this goal.
Pato’s sheer speed and ability to outfox defenders with the ball at his feet will give him an advantage against the majority of defenders in the Premier League. While Brazilians often struggle to make a major impact in England’s top flight, Pato has all of the traits and skills to suggest that he would flourish in the Premier League.
In recent years, both Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino have disproven the myth that no Brazilian can shine in the top flight and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see Pato achieve similar levels of success. He’s never going to be one of those strikers that nets 20 goals a season but he can at least provide some support to a Chelsea side struggling for goals.
If nothing else, Chelsea look like a side that needs some fresh blood. One or two signings in January could make all the difference for their chances of finishing in the top half of the table this season – especially in attack. Other than Costa, the Blues are toothless upfront and last season’s Player of the Year Eden Hazard has failed to find the net since the end of the 2014-15 campaign.
In fact, the Belgian hasn’t scored in over 2,500 minutes of football – a staggering statistic. Prior to the beginning of the season, many had labelled Hazard as one of the top three players on the planet but he has seriously underperformed throughout the entire campaign. Many have claimed that Pato is a risk but he can’t do any worse than Hazard on current form.
Pato would slot in well alongside fellow Brazilians Oscar and Willian in Chelsea’s attack – which is yet another reason why the Blues would profit from his arrival. The Brazilian trio in attack would work incredibly well, especially if Diego Costa could stay fit.
Chelsea have plenty of attacking talent in their ranks and the Blues may be focusing on the cup competitions now that their title chances are over. Who knows, he could also play a key role for the Blues in the FA Cup too. Both 32red.com and Winner are pricing Chelsea at 11/2 to win the competition this season and Pato would certainly offer the Blues a different dimension in attack. If Hiddink wanted to give Costa a rest, the Dutchman would still have Pato in his ranks to slot straight into the starting line-up.
Finally, Pato’s versatility is perhaps the biggest appeal. Chelsea could use Pato as an out-and-out striker or play him out wide. The Corinthians star is capable of performing anywhere along the forward line, which makes him a major threat in any side – even more so in the Premier League.
In some aspect, he is very similar to Manchester United’s Anthony Martial and will put fear into opposing defenders with his pace, agility and natural talent. Given the opportunity, Pato would slot in well in either of these two positions – especially with the Brazilian contingent in support.