"Believe in your dreams." Four, somewhat philosophical, words tweeted by Corinthians' Brazilian forward, Alexandre Pato. That is more than enough to get transfer rumors geared up in today's minute-to-minute news cycle. And, for the second time this season, this one has been picked up as a Liverpool centric rumor.
While it would be wholly understandable for Redkind to click right on past this link and get back to pining after whatever random central defender is being linked to solve our positional crisis, there actually are a few reasons to not be wholly dismissive of this one.
The first reason is incredibly obvious: it's January! As in the time when club officials can actually pick up their communication device of choice, link it to another communication device of choice owned and operated by their counterparts at other clubs, and conduct an actual negotiation for the transfer of a player.
And while that reason may seem a bit pedantic, it becomes less so when you consider the second reason to not be wholly dismissive of this rumor: Liverpool find themselves in the midst of an injury crisis. While the Exeter City game was a fun opportunity to watch yutes in real competitive action, the injury-riddled reason behind the starts those kids got is something that needs to be rectified.
While Liverpool's medical staff is deep in training to master the nuances of the episkey spell, perhaps a more pragmatic solution for both the short and medium term would be to augment squad numbers to buy time for injured players to recover, thus precluding a situation where they are being rushed back, leaving themselves open to predictable reinjury. And while central defense is probably the most dire area needing reinforcement at the moment, a goalscoring, goalcreating force is never going to be too far off from the biggest squad need for any team.
Look at Barcelona: with Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Neymar, and an entire plethora of youth academy options in their roster, did they spend a ton of dough on a Dani Alves replacement or Gerard Pique deputy? No. They bought the goals of Luis Suarez, and figured the doubling down of offensive firepower would negate defensive concerns. And they were right! The lesson there is if you're going to err in transfer spending, err on the side of goals.
The next reason this move could make a lot of sense is the price. Ever since Pato was showing signs of a rehabilitated game around this time last season, the cost to take him off of Corinthians' hands has never strayed too far from that £10m mark. That's a little over one Tiago Ilori, or half of one Dejan Lovren, to put things in perspective. For a guy who, when he hit the European game at 18 years old, did nothing less than light. shit. up.
Which brings us to our last, and most important, reason why this transfer rumor should pique Red interest more than a little bit. Dude's got game. At 26 years old, he has multiple seasons of his physical prime to come. And because of the stop start fashion in which his career has gone since he took the plunge with Barbara Berlusconi, he has a lot less mileage on his engine than most 26 year old forwards who lit up the game in their teens. He looks to have gotten beyond the -- gulp -- muscle injuries that plagued him during the tail end of his AC Milan days, and reports out of Brazil are that he's got his focus and passion for the game back.
And those last two points are critical, since we're talking about bringing Pato into the fold of a gegenpressing system. There isn't going to be time for him to misfire, or get cozy back in European digs. He's going to have to hit the ground running, be sharp, and produce results if he is to make good on this chance to reestablish himself in the upper echelon of the game.
Make no mistake: Alexandre Pato absolutely has the physical tools and skill set to be one of the most feared attacking forces in world football. Sure, it may never get back to that level for the mercurial Brazilian, but for £10m and palatable wages? We would couch that as a gamble worth taking, if we weren't so doubtful of it even being a gamble in the first place. We payed almost that much Iago Aspas, for Fowler's sake.