Corinthians have revealed that they would be prepared to sell forward Alexandre Pato in January should a significant offer arrive from reported suitors Arsenal and Tottenham. After five-and-a-half injury-plagued years at Milan, Pato moved back to Brazil in January, but has already been the subject of interest from Europe once more. The 24-year-old recently revealed that he rejected an approach from Tottenham in the summer. But, with Arsenal also said to be considering an approach, Corinthians director Roberto de Andrade believes a transfer could happen.
"Considering his value, I think it's hard that he moves to another Brazilian club," De Andrade told Radio Bandeirantes, according to Sky Sports. "If those two clubs [Arsenal and Tottenham] are interested in Pato, we don't rule out selling him in the winter transfer market."
Talk of Pato moving to a major European club comes at a somewhat odd time given that he has far from set the world alight since returning to his homeland. Despite his €15 million (£12.7m) transfer fee and former wunderkind status, Pato has not been an automatic first choice. And, while he has largely remained fit, his performances have attracted the ire of Corinthians’ fans. A recent botched Panenka penalty summed up his current plight.
Regardless of Pato's status, a new forward is likely to be on the agenda for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in January. Nicklas Bendtner appears an unreliable deputy for Olivier Giroud, while doubts resurfaced about whether the Frenchman warrants a place in the top strata of the world’s strikers by missing a gilt-edged chance against Liverpool.
Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke has long been linked with the Gunners and, according to the Daily Mail, an Arsenal scout was in attendance when Villa took on West Ham on Saturday to run the rule over the powerful Belgian front man. After putting in a transfer request in the summer, Benteke had a change of mind and elected to sign a new contract.
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A January move for the 22-year-old would have the advantage of him not being cup-tied for the Champions League should Arsenal still be contention. Benteke would not come cheap, with Villa likely to demand around £25 million.
According to the Mail, Benteke was not the only focus of the Arsenal’s scout’s attention at Upton Park. It is claimed that West Ham defender Winston Reid was also being assessed. The 25-year-old New Zealand international, whose footballing education came in Denmark, has been an ever present at the heart of a defense that has conceded just eight goals in 10 Premier League matches this season.
Arsenal currently have just three established center-backs at their disposal, with one of them, Thomas Vermaelen, recently conceding that he would have to consider his options in January if he cannot force his way back into the first team.
Meanwhile, the Daily Star has again put forward a long-standing rumor about Arsenal’s interest in Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan. The 23-year-old, who was pivotal in Dortmund’s run to the Champions League final last season, has also been linked to Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid. There should be fierce competition for his signature next summer, with Dortmund likely to seek in excess of £25 million should they reluctantly decide to part with the Germany international.