One Of The Best Young Strikers In Europe Was Exiled To Brazil. Can He Claw His Way Back?
Get the best email in soccer.
He started out as one of the most promising strikers of his generation. Fans raved about him and managers wanted to coach him, but he hit a wall of injuries all of a sudden and his career went crashing down. Regarded by Mexico's manager Juan Carlos Osorio as one of the best wingers in world soccer today, this player is nicknamed after a bird. And like the legend of another famous bird, he is rising from the ashes of his crumbled career. Yes, I’m talking about Alexandre Pato.
“Alexandre, in my opinion, is one of the five best wingers in the world. I like his technique and his speed.” Osorio said in a post-game interview earlier this season. “Today he dropped back and helped us regain possession. He got better as a team-player and, right now, deserves to be in the national team.”
— Diario de S. Paulo (@DiarioSP) October 7, 2015
The Colombian manager fell in love with the Corinthians' loanee's game right from the start when he took command of Sao Paulo.
As for the player, he managed to look a lot like the Pato fans got used to watching in Milan. Under Osorio, he regained his confidence and his form.
Pato scored a barrage of beautiful goals and led a poor Sao Paulo side into a good position to qualify for the Copa Libertadores going into their final fixture.
Alexandre Pato Goal
He is the team’s top scorer with 10 goals in the Campeonato Brasileiro and ranks second in the squad in assists with 6, only behind Neymar’s former sidekick Paulo Henrique Ganso, who has 10.
Now with the end of the season nearing, Pato already has his eyes on next season. And if rumors turn out to be true, the former A.C. Milan striker will likely cross the Atlantic one more time. The only difference is that this time his destiny won’t be Italy. It will probably be England.
The potential Pato landing spot with most buzz around it is the Emirates Stadium. Former Gunner, and now Corinthians’ director of football, Edu recently had a meeting with his old boss Arsene Wenger.
Although Edu said that the Pato rumors weren’t his main reason for the visit, he did say that they touched on the subject.
“I wasn’t there to tout him (Pato) around but if people ask about him, I’m going to answer,” Edu said. “I talked and they asked questions – not just about him, but about a few of our players. They know them well. I had lunch with Arsene Wenger and he asked about [Pato] and about others.”
With his squad suffering from injuries on all fronts, Wenger already admitted that he is open to signing some players in the January window.
Other clubs linked with possible moves for the 26-year-old are Tottenham and Liverpool. Pato should be available for around £11 million, according to ESPNFC.
Outside of the Premier League, there have been talks of Barcelona, Schalke, and Borussia Dortmund also chasing Pato’s signature.