Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur must pay €25m (£18.5m, $28.4m) if they wish to sign Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato during the January transfer window, the player's parent club Corinthians have stated. He has netted 24 goals in all competitions in 2015 while on loan at Sao Paulo and has seen his valuation multiply as a result.
Despite enjoying success in his homeland after leaving AC Milan in 2013, Pato is eager to return to Europe to play in the Champions League, but there remain concerns over his temperament and fitness after his career fell apart on the continent. The 26-year-old looks set to return to Corinthians at the end of his loan spell but a switch to the Premier League could yet be in the offing.
Pato claimed that during the final hours of the summer transfer window United made an enquiry into his availability, while Globo Esporte claimed the player's agent Giuliano Bertolucci was attempting to force through a move to Tottenham before deadline day. However, Corinthians have tried to block Pato's potential departure by raising their valuation of the player.
"At the moment there are only enquiries," deputy director of football Eduardo Ferreira told Globo Esporte. "But if a club comes in with an offer of €25m, we will let him go, otherwise he will return [in January]."
Pato future unclear
Both United and Tottenham quelled their need for additional attacking resources during the final days of the summer window. Louis van Gaal moved for Anthony Martial while the north London club signed Son Heung-Min from Hoffenheim. The duo have settled into their new surroundings with ease but the future of Pato is no clearer.
The forward revealed after the summer window that United submitted a proposal to sign him on deadline day, but that he was not made aware of the offer until after the window had closed. No approach from Tottenham has been confirmed however.
"I won't lie, two hours before closing [the transfer window] I had a very nice offer from Manchester United. I was expecting it, but I only knew after when they commented. But my focus now is here. I am working to do my best and possibly stay at Sao Paulo," Pato said, as quoted by ESPN FC.
"I won't lie to you that I think yes [about the future]. I see with my family, with the people closest to me, we talk about what will happen, how it will happen, what will be next year. It's only a few months, we don't count December, so it's not a long time."
"But I am working, I'm very focused on Sao Paulo, I can't stop thinking of my future, but my focus is Sao Paulo. I would really like to stay, but that doesn't depend only on me. I have to do my work, my agent and my family takes good care of these things, they want the best for me and the club, and I'm very professional, I always work focused, trying my best not to think."