Sao Paulo star Alexandre Pato has reopened the door to a move back to Europe after receiving approaches from Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur during the summer transfer window. Pato, 26, enjoyed a meteoric rise when he joined AC Milan at the age of 18 in 2008 but returned to Brazil in 2013.
The forward has been frequently linked with a return to one of the continent's major leagues and claimed in the final days of the summer transfer window United had made enquiries into his availability. Tottenham were also said to be interested when Globo Esporte claimed the player's agent Giuliano Bertolucci was trying to force through a move to White Hart Lane, having travelled to London for talks with the Premier League side.
That move met a stumbling block in Sao Paulo's desire to hold onto Pato, who is on loan from Corinthians. In early September, the club's vice-president Ataide Gil Guerreiro insisted his side were keen to make his stay a permanent one in the new year, but Pato now feels Sao Paulo have gone cold.
"I will not stay in Sao Paulo next year. I watched an interview with [interim Sao Paulo president] Leco and he said it is very difficult to sign me," Pato told reporters after Saturday's 3-0 win over Sport Recife, Sky Sports report. "I want to help Sao Paulo in this final stretch, these five very important games, because I want to put the team into the Copa Libertadores. I see no problem. I'm a professional and I have to always do my job. I want to devote my best to them and go on vacation with a feeling of accomplishment."
Pato was frequently criticised during his season at Corinthians and his parent club have shown their willingness to cash in on the Brazil international should his release clause of £17.8m (€25m, $27.5m) be met. "At the moment there are only enquiries," deputy director of football Eduardo Ferreira told Globo Esporte in October. "But if a club comes in with an offer of €25m we will let him go, otherwise he will return [in January]."