[Editor’s Note: This story has been updated after TML sources have notified us that the player’s salary could rise above the Targeted Allocation Money threshold, despite originally being relayed to us as being a base of $200,000 plus performance bonuses. We will continue to work on further clarification.]
The Mane Land has confirmed speculation fueled by Orlando City’s social media that former A.C. Milan, Chelsea, and Sao Paulo forward Alexandre Pato will indeed become a Lion. TML has learned that Pato will sign with Orlando on a budget-friendly deal for a player of his caliber that will not require a Designated Player slot but with incentives could rise into Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) range. The deal is for one year with an additional option year.
It’s been a whirlwind week in the pursuit of signing Pato. The Mane Land sources confirmed Tuesday the media reports that Orlando City had made an offer to Pato, with a decision expected by the club’s deadline on Wednesday. However, there was no response on Wednesday and, as a result, sources said that the deal was looking unlikely and that Pato was seriously considering a deal with Argentinos Juniors in Argentina — much closer to home.
The Mane Land learned that Pato’s final decision was influenced by the opportunity to chase trophies at Orlando City after the team’s turnaround under Oscar Pareja in 2020. Argentinos Juniors are not expected to contend against the likes of Boca Juniors, River Plate, Estudiantes, Racing, and Independiente.
Pato has been without a team since August after parting ways with Sao Paulo in Brazil, where he made 20 appearances since 2019, scoring five goals. The 31-year-old has played previously for such clubs as A.C. Milan, Villarreal, and Chelsea, but injuries have limited his minutes at times throughout his playing days. He began his career with Internacional in Brazil, scoring six goals in 10 appearances in 2006-2007. He signed with Milan for 24 million Euros in August of 2007 and went on to score 51 goals in 117 appearances from 2007 to 2013, but he was limited by knocks from 2011-2013.
Brazilian side Corinthians signed him in 2013 and Pato played 30 matches for the club, scoring nine goals between 2013 and 2016. He spent 59 matches on loan with Sao Paulo from 2014 to 2015, scoring 19 times. He also went on loan to Chelsea for two games in 2016, notching one goal.
Pato signed with Villarreal in July of 2016 and started the 2016-2017 season with the La Liga side, scoring just twice in 14 appearances, before transferring to Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian in January of 2017. While in China, Pato was exceedingly productive, scoring 30 goals in 47 appearances from 2017 to 2019. He then returned to Sao Paulo in March of 2019, missing about a third of his first season there.
The Pato Branco, Brazil native has represented his country at the U-20, U-23, and senior levels, scoring 10 goals in 27 first-team appearances.
What it Means for Orlando City
Pato could be a great pick-up for the Lions for the money. The club could use another veteran attacker, who can make spot starts, come off the bench in games, and help mentor Daryl Dike (once he returns from Barnsley) and Derek Dodson. A player of his caliber is a strong addition in an area of need — but not dire need.
Based on Orlando City’s social media posts, this official announcement should come soon. We will continue to monitor this story for further details, such as contract length, should they become available prior to the official announcement.
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