The Mane Land has confirmed media reports that Orlando City has made an offer to former A.C. Milan, Chelsea, and Sao Paulo forward Alexandre Pato. Sources indicated that the offer is not a Designated Player deal but rather one that fits within the club’s budget plans. An answer is expected by tomorrow and sources indicated that the offer will likely be accepted.
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 if what we’re hearing about the offer is accurate. 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. If he’s within reasonable budget numbers, a player of his caliber is a strong addition in an area of need — but not dire need.
There’s no reason to think that the club will need to use Targeted Allocation Money for a player out of contract and currently without a club. There is some competition for his services in Argentina from Argentinos Juniors, which is not a team expected to contend. The option to move to a Brazilian-friendly club in a Brazilian-friendly city is likely an attractive one.
We should know more on Wednesday after the player has made his decision but if Pato agrees to terms, there might not be an official announcement for several days.
Here’s a lengthy highlight video: