Pato signing is huge Chelsea risk

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Even when the club finds itself lingering in mid table, Chelsea possess an undoubted pedigree that can see it become a magnet for world class footballers. However, despite all the appeal of the Stamford Bridge side, the best the Blues could muster this winter has proven to be Alexandre Pato.

With confirmation of the move behind announced this week, the Brazilian is ending his four year hiatus from European football. The transfer appears a prominent risk by Chelsea who are crying out for league victories. Whilst the club’s need for a striker cannot be denied, it must be questioned whether Pato is the right man.

It seems not long ago that Pato was considered one of Europe’s hot prospects amidst superb form at AC Milan. Some even hypothesised that the pacey Brazilian could go onto be one of the continent’s finest finishers.

f3However, after an impressive 2010-11 season, his Milan career was swift to peter out. Just six goals in 25 appearances following the Copa America saw Pato shockingly turn his back on Europe. Whilst the 26-year-old has undoubtedly improved in recent months, his return to Brazil has been far from smooth. Corinthians have been vocal over their desire to part company with Pato and he was even loaned out to Sao Paolo for two consecutive campaigns.

Yet, albeit all this recent career chaos and having been away from Europe for so long, Chelsea have pounced. Pato’s past reputation may have prevailed over his mildly impressive form in a weak league. European football is renowned for being the sport’s premier region as exemplified by the dominance of Champions League winners in the FIFA Club World Cup. This prestige roots from its difficulty and consequently Chelsea fans should be concerned that Pato has been away from this environment for so long.

Whilst the ex-AC Milan man has experience in Serie A, it still has very little on the physical brutality of the Premier League. The jump from Brazil to Britain may prove severe for a striker who has practically spent the past four years in hiding.

Furthermore, whilst Pato’s recent goal scoring record may prove appetising, it’s more indicative of the league’s frailties than the Brazilian’s finishing nous. There can be no doubting that the forward wields prominent talent, but it’s questionable whether he’ll be able to rediscover this in such a tough competition.

Chelsea do need a striker, that’s not up for debate, and adding Pato to the side does no harm. However, for such a prestigious club, the supporters must be scratching their heads as to why a better forward hasn’t been acquired.

It’s a risk. Pato has fallen a long, long way since his dizzying heights at AC Milan and it worryingly appears that this signing may be down to past reputation as opposed to recent form. The 26-year-old may have dominated Italy four years ago, but his return from a Brazilian honeymoon may be a harsh reality check amidst the physicality of the world’s greatest league.


Kobe Tong

YJA Senior Sports Correspondent