Welcome back. Arsene Wenger held his pre-Norwich press conference this morning and aside from providing an update on team news, the boss also revealed he’s looking to buy in the upcoming January transfer window.
We are in a position where we want to do something. If I find the right quality I will do something.
With Francis Coquelin ruled out for the next 3 months, signing a defensive midfielder is, you’d have thought, the manager’s priority if we can can find one we like. But as last summer’s pursuit of Karim Benzema showed, we’re still on the lookout for a quality striker too. So it was interesting to hear one of our former players reveal Arsene had enquired about the availability of Alexandre Pato recently.
Edu, a member of our Invincibles and now the Director of Football at Brazilian club Corinthians, was in London recently on a fact-finding mission and as well as visiting two of the capital’s lesser clubs in Chelsea and Tottenham, also dropped by to have a spot of lunch and a good old chinwag with his former boss Arsene at Arsenal. Here’s what he said:
I wasn’t there to tout him (Pato) around but if people ask about him, I’m going to answer. 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.
The rise and fall of Pato is a bit of a weird one. Brought to Europe by AC Milan aged just 17 in 2007, he went on to score 63 goals in 150 games for the Rossoneri, before injury troubles and an alleged party-lifestyle led to the Italian club selling the striker to Corinthians in January 2013.
After scoring 17 from 62 appearances, a change of manager resulted in him being loaned out to Sao Paulo just a year later, where he’s netted 38 times in 95 games, including 26 in 56 this calendar year. So statistically-speaking, Pato has certainly been preforming well of late, regardless of how highly you rate domestic Brazilian football.
From what I’ve seen of him over the years, Pato’s pace and quality as a footballer is unquestionable, but there has to be other factors at play with him as an individual which have prevented a return to Europe before now. I mean, the shortage of ‘top-level’ strikers in our continent is something Arsene often bemoans, so to have a player, who at his best is certainly among the best of the world’s central strikers in my opinion, not being chased by top clubs in Europe, is odd.
Yet he’s still fairly young, having turned 26 in September, and at an age where, if he’s overcome his injury troubles, settled down a little in his private life and is determined to get back to his best, still has his golden years ahead of him. His loan deal with Sao Paulo reportedly runs until next month, which indicates Edu was indeed in London to offer Pato’s services to English clubs, even if he denied it above.
The other thing with the potential signing of Pato is he’d be relatively cheap. Less expensive than Jamie Vardy in all likelihood, and as big a fan as I am of the free-scoring Leicester man, I’d prefer Pato if he can rekindle his best form.
It’s all hypothetical of course but worth a wonder I thought because there certainly seems to something stirring with regards to a move for Pato to England in January given recurring reports over recent weeks.
Anyway, as usual, Arsene discussed a lot of things at his press conference, including his penchant for a bargain, team news, Alexis Sanchez being a jungle cat and more. But I’ll go over that lot tomorrow.
See you then.