Chelsea were not thinking long term when they signed Alexandro Pato. Finally, they might be.
Standard Sport reports that the Blues are considering cutting short Pato’s £30,000-per week loan from Corinthians, which runs until the end of the season, after the emergence of Bertrand Traore.
The Brazilian joined Chelsea in January, but is yet to play a single minute for Guus Hiddink’s side and is still short of match fitness despite over six weeks of training, according to Standard Sport.
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Pato, who had played outside of Europe for three years, was signed to provide cover across the forward positions while Chelsea were still fighting on three fronts, but Hiddink no longer require such a luxury.
Last week’s double blow of Champions League and FA Cup elimination at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain and Everton respectively effectively ended Chelsea’s season from a competitive perspective.
The surrendering Premier League champions are separated from the top four by 11 points, and five more teams who are hungry to chase down Manchester City or Arsenal in the final games of the season.
They have nothing left to play for, and no more use for Pato. Traore, 18, has scored four goals in his last six games and should be given the rest of the season to continue his impressive development.
Radamel Falcao is close to returning to full training, according to Standard Sport, but another loan flop does not seem to have a future at Stamford Bridge and should not stand in Traore’s way either.
Nurturing young players has been too low on Chelsea’s agenda for too long, but now they have the perfect opportunity to give their next generation of potential stars a decent taste of first-team football.
Burkina Faso international Traore has been the standout so far, but the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kenedy and Jake Clarke-Salter should also hope to get some game time before the end of the season.
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