This summer has seen a number of reports linking former-Brazilian wonderkid Alexandre Pato with a return to European football.
The striker is currently plying his trade in his homeland at Sao Paulo on-loan from Corinthians.
However, the loan deal finishes at the end of the year and Pato is now being linked with a return to the European game.
It seems the former-AC Milan star is dreaming of a move back to the European big time. He told Marca: “I find myself happy at Sao Paulo, but my big dream is to return to play in the Champions League,”
“I feel that my moment in European football is not yet over. I will be on loan at Sao Paulo until the end of the year and afterwards I do not know what will happen.”
He also told reporters after his current clubs 1-0 win over Cruzeiro: “What I did there isn’t over, I want to go back and play in Europe,”
When Pato played for AC Milan between 2007 and 2010 the forward was regarded as one of the brightest prospects to come out of Brazil in a long time. He seemed to have all the attributes to become a Rossoneri and Selecao hero.
However, injuries and reportedly a poor attitude started to interrupt his once promising club career. The young striker was also reportedly fond of the party lifestyle and if claims were true was keen on living the superstar life.
All those factors lead to the decline of his club career in Italy. Despite his injury struggles, Pato still registered an impressive 51 goals in 117 Serie A appearances for the Rossoneri before moving on to Corinthians in 2013. He failed to really shine scoring nine times in 30 league appearances for Corinthians and was subsequently loaned out to Sao Paulo.
He has hardly been prolific in his loan spell either, as Pato has found the net 14 times in 42 appearances for Sao Paulo. It is hardly form that would have European clubs shaking their chequebooks at his Brazilian parent club, who paid around £12million to sign him.
A recent good run of form has seen Pato produce four goals in four games for Sao Paulo and maybe it is the start of a more productive run of form for the former-Brazil international. It seems he hopes to hit form to earn a big move back to the European stage.
A good run of form may also get him back into the reckoning for the Selecao. The 25-year-old has not played for his national side since 2013 and will be hoping his current run of form will improve his chances of being selected again for the South Americans.
We often talk about young players being hyped-up in England, but Brazil there is a similar sort of pressure heaped on the shoulders of talented young players. If a player shows some promise then he is instantly regarded as the next big thing.
The usual course of action is for the promising young Brazilian player to be snapped-up by a European side at a very young age, just as Pato was at just 17-years-old.
Pato was maybe handed too much too soon, too much money, too much expectation and crucially to much bad advice. Maybe the hype and his alleged activities off the pitch distracted him from fulfilling his potential.
Despite his recent fall from football grace it seems that Alexandre Pato is still very much on the radar of European clubs. However the clubs being linked with a move for Pato are probably not the sorts of clubs he would have envisioned himself playing for.
The likes of Premier League clubs Crystal Palace and West Ham have been linked with a move for the forward. Both teams finished midtable in the Premier League last season, neither would offer the Champions League football Pato still craves.
However, maybe Pato will have to return to Europe with a less high-profile team and prove that he still has what it takes to ply his trade in the European game.
Even at 25-years-old Alexandre Pato still has the time to prove his quality in European football. He enjoyed the best seasons of his football career in Milan.
If he is to fulfil his potential though he needs to avoid the mistakes he made at AC Milan, or he could just be regarded as a once promising youngster who wasted his natural talent.
Will Alexandre Pato return to the European game in the near future?