Interim Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink has confirmed that Alexandre Pato will remain at Stamford Bridge until the end of this season despite reports to the contrary. Meanwhile, the Blues are reportedly reviving their interest in Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani.
Pato has yet to make his Chelsea debut after arriving at the club on loan in January, and reports emerged in his native Brazil this week suggesting his spell could be cut short.
However, Hiddink told the media on Friday that won't be the case, per Bruce Archer of the Daily Express:
At the moment he will stay until the end of the season.
You have to see when he was hired here. We only had Diego Costa of our strikers competitive at that time.
Bertrand Traore was a very young kid. But he has made, in a very short time, progress and scored goals.
We also had Loic Remy in very troubled water, and Radamel Falcao also. That's why we brought Pato in on loan.
By all accounts, Pato's arrival at Stamford Bridge does appear to have been met with some unfortunate timing on his part, and the forward now has barely two months of the season left in which to make his mark.
The Guardian's Barney Ronay even nodded toward the suggestion that Pato's move to west London may never have been sanctioned with a view to seeing him lead Chelsea's line, but instead it was a transfer motivated solely by business.
Whatever the true motives may be, time is running out for the as-of-yet-absent Pato to dazzle in his English setting before he returns to parent club Corinthians in the summer.
With that said, Jenny Brown of WhoScored.com sympathised and agreed that the emergence of youngster Bertrand Traore has blocked Pato's route, hoping for the former Milan marvel to perhaps yet leave an impact:
@NATTERFOOTBALL I’m also assuming Traore’s progress with the first team was a surprise to Hiddink. Still hoping Pato will get a look in— Jenny Brown (@cfc_jb) March 17, 2016
However, his chances seem slight when one considers Traore has added another option behind first-choice frontman Diego Costa, with Loic Remy still superseding Pato before he's likely to get a sniff.
Chelsea are mentioned as the other powerhouse hoping to tempt the former Napoli ace away from the French capital. Cavani may be tempted to persevere at PSG, however, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to finally vacate the central striking role in Paris when his contract expires this summer.
The Uruguay international has been shifted out to the wing for much of his stay at PSG, but Guardian writer Michael Cox has nevertheless rated Cavani as a top asset:
@Paisley_Gates Haha I have no recollection of this. Well, yeah I love Cavani. I think he's a superb all-round centre-forward.— Michael Cox (@Zonal_Marking) March 18, 2016
Much will depend on how much faith PSG manager Laurent Blanc has in Cavani as a leading No. 9, with his record currently standing at 75 goals in 137 appearances for the club—an average of 0.55 goals per game.
Chelsea will also be expected to offer Cavani certain assurances considering Costa currently reigns as Stamford Bridge's resident spear tip, and Juve are sure to offer substantial competition for a sought-after star.