Chelsea have reportedly moved closer to completing a £10 million move for Brazilian forward Alexandre Pato.
According to Tony Banks of the Daily Express, the Blues have “stepped up talks” over a possible transfer with the 26-year-old’s current club, Corinthians, about a potential deal. Banks wrote that the deal could be done by the end of the week.
“The Stamford Bridge club have moved for the Brazilian striker because of fitness doubts over key front man Diego Costa and deputy Loic Remy,” added Banks “With current third choice Radamel Falcao sidelined with a long-term thigh problem, the club have become concerned about a lack of striking cover.”
Here are the kind of qualities Pato would bring to the Chelsea team, provided he can cope with the Premier League:
With Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur also linked to the player in Banks' piece, the Blues may consider getting the former Milan man on board a coup.
His struggles with the Serie A side and injuries have been well documented, but he’s got his career back on track in Brazil, particularly during an impressive loan spell with Sao Paulo.
During that stint he showcased the touch, awareness and composure in front of goal that prompted many to tip him for big things from a young age.
Of course, showing these qualities in the Premier League will be a lot more difficult. Pato isn't particularly well built and hasn’t relished the physical side of the game previously. That’s something any English side who gets him on board will have to be acutely aware of when figuring out the best way to use him.
Diego Costa is a footballer who has relished that side of English football since joining the Blues, although this season hasn’t been the best one for him. Indeed, according to Fichajes (h/t talkSPORT), Atletico Madrid have been keen on bringing the Spain international back to the club.
Former Chelsea man David Luiz has also revealed that he’d love to see Costa join him at Paris Saint-Germain if he has decided he’s had enough of the Premier League, per Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Mirror:
Diego is one of the most clinical strikers in Europe, he would be a welcome addition to any team. I think PSG have made their intent clear over the last three or four seasons, that we only add the best player.
If Diego decides he has had enough of England and wants a new challenge, of course he would be welcome here.
It’d be an intriguing challenge for Costa. There have been times this season when he’s looked disinterested, but as we can see here courtesy of Squawka Football, since Guus Hiddink took the job on at Stamford Bridge, the Spain international has found some form once again:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Diego Costa in 2015/16: Under Jose Mourinho: 20 games, 4 goals Under Guus Hiddink: 5 games, 5 goals Rejuvenated. https://t.co/6csxz6BNzn2016-1-16 22:33:04
With Atletico Madrid likely to be banned from making summer acquisitions after their recent one-year sanction from FIFA, Costa’s route back to the Vicente Calderon seems to have been blocked.
PSG could be an option, though, especially given their current star centre-forward, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has a contract that expires at the end of this season.
But Chelsea fans will not want to see Costa depart. He seems to be rediscovering the kind of spark that made him such a force during the 2014-15 season, and if he can start adding goals to his abrasive centre-forward play, perhaps he still has a long-term future at Stamford Bridge yet.