Chelsea's Pato move could backfire, says Gary Lim
Hardly impressive in last five years, Blues' gamble on Pato is likely to backfire
Alexandre Pato arrived at Stamford Bridge delighted with his "dream" move, as he attempts to resurrect a career that once promised so much.
Chelsea, lured by his relative youth and the world-class potential he used to show as a teenager, welcomed the 26-year-old Brazilian with open arms.
But the Blues are betting on a long shot.
If their decision to bring in the floundering Radamel Falcao last July was strange, then this Pato deal looks bizarre.
Falcao had one poor season on loan at Manchester United following a serious injury, before Chelsea took him on.
Pato spent the last five years attempting to fulfil unrealised potential in a career wrecked by persistent injuries, after making his name as one of the world's finest attackers in the later part of last decade.
By 2013, when AC Milan deemed his decline irreversible, they offloaded him to Brazilian outfit Corinthians, who a year later farmed him out on loan to Sao Paulo.
Chelsea clearly saw something in his improved performances in his last two seasons.
He enjoyed a generally injury-free spell as he scored 38 goals in 95 matches.
But, if the Blues are using the Brazilian championship as a yardstick, then they must have been getting some very poor advice.
Pato is nowhere near a return to the Brazil national team.
He is unwanted by Corinthians, who were desperate to sell him off in a permanent deal.
Harry Redknapp yesterday claimed he rejected the player just last year, when he was the manager of Queens Park Rangers.
If Pato can't return to his heights in Italy and Brazil, what chance of him doing it in the English Premier League, where it is certainly more physically demanding and of a higher level?
Just how Pato will fit into caretaker manager Guus Hiddink's plans remains a mystery.
At Chelsea, he will face tough competition - Eden Hazard and Pedro Rodriguez - on the left side of the attack, where he operated for Sao Paulo.
In the club's one-striker system, Diego Costa is the undisputed starter, their reference point at the top of the team shape.
If Chelsea had signed Pato for the sake of adding him to the pool of back-up strikers, which already include Falcao and Loic Remy, then they won't be getting an improvement except adding an extra body to the squad.
Surely, the Blues are better off with a proven marksman whom they can rely on as a deputy and to provide serious competition to Costa, someone like Jamie Vardy or even a short-term solution such as the 32-year-old Robin van Persie who is now at Fenerbahce.
Currently 13th in the Premiership table, the defending champions need a strong finish to the season to turn it from disastrous to respectable.
Of course, Pato's arrival makes economic sense, otherwise Chelsea would never have taken a chance on him.
He was available on a temporary deal until the end of the season, at which point Hiddink would have completed his stint.
With an option to make his move permanent for £7 million ($14.3m), the new Chelsea manager can then decide if he still requires his services.
According to ESPN Brazil, Pato comes relatively cheap too.
He will cost Chelsea just £33,000 a week, a tiny fraction of what Hazard earns (£200,000 per week).
If Remy or Falcao leaves this week as rumoured, Chelsea also won't be left scrambling for a replacement so late into the transfer window.
But his arrival is also starting to look nothing more than a convenient decision that doesn't improve them in any significant way.
Pato is a low-risk gamble which Chelsea can certainly live without at a time when they have bigger fish to fry.