Rio de Janeiro, Dec 14 (IANS) Brazilian international Alexandre Pato has expressed a desire to join an English Premier League (EPL) club in January as he seeks to rescale the heights that made him one of football’s most promising strikers.
The 26-year-old is said to have attracted interest from a slew of European clubs after ending a successful two-year loan spell at Sao Paulo earlier this month. He remains contracted to Corinthians until the end of 2016 but the Brazilian outfit has made it clear he is not part of its plans, reports Xinhua.
The former AC Milan star has also been linked to Barcelona and there have been reports of a possible return to Italy. However Pato says England is his preferred destination.
“Before I came to Italy to play for Milan in 2007, I saw in the papers that my name was mentioned in connection with some English clubs,” Pato said on Sunday.
“I was told Chelsea were interested but my dream was to play with (the Brazilian) Ronaldo. When Milan called my manager I wanted to go there so that I could play with Ronaldo and (Paolo) Maldini.
“But one day I knew I would like to come to England because I think the Premier League is the number one in the world. It is very competitive. I like the emotion in the English league. You look at the TV and you see the stadium and the fans.”
Among EPL clubs reportedly interested in signing the forward are Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.
He added: “My dream is to come back to Europe. I think it has to be to a club that plays to be champions, one that challenges and has ambition.”
Pato joined AC Milan as an 18-year-old in 2007 and was an immediate success with 57 goals in his first 125 matches.
But a spate of injuries combined with inconsistent form saw his stock plummet and he was sold to Corinthians in January 2013 for 15 million euros.
He continued to be plagued by injuries in 2013 and 2014 before enjoying an uninterrupted 2015 with 26 goals across all competitions.
Lack of native coaches in EPL will hurt English football: Mourinho
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes that the dwindling number of homegrown coaches in the English Premier League (EPL) is a matter of concern for the future of British football.
“I think you should be concerned. You know, the Premier League was quite a closed space for foreign managers and to come here was not easy,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by the local media here on Sunday.
“I think there’s a consequence for the national managers. I think the game gets richer through the confrontation between difficult styles of management and coaching. So I’m not saying it’s negative for the competition. What I’m saying is it’s more difficult if you have a smaller group of the British managers. Then for others, it’s more difficult,” he added.
Mourinho’s comments came after Swansea’s Garry Monk became the latest British coach to lose his job this season, meaning the number of homegrown managers in the EPL has fallen from nine in the summer to seven.
He believes that the situation could have serious consequences for the future of the England team, with Football Association (FA) chief executive Martin Glenn confirming that the governing body may consider a foreigner as the next manager of the national squad once current incumbent Roy Hodgson leaves the role.
The 52-year-old Portuguese pointed out that 15 out of 18 managers in Portugal’s top flight are natives, adding that his own successes had made Portuguese coaches fashionable at home and abroad.
“Yes, I speak against myself, but I think it’s true. In this moment for example in Portugal we have 18 teams in the premier league and 15 Portuguese coaches. Some people say, and it’s true, that’s because something changed in the last decade,” he said.
“Some people say it’s a little bit of an effect of what happened with me, Portuguese, young, gets Porto champions, champion again, Champions League, success, and people start believing and start giving chances, and they were doing well, and then comes another one and another one and now we have one Portuguese at Monaco, one at Olympiacos, one at Zenit, we have Carlos Carvajal at Sheffield Wednesday doing very well too,” Mourinho added.
“We have Paolo Sousa in Fiorentina. People believe that more are coming and they give them their chances.”
The Chelsea manager also believes that it is now easier for foreign managers to get jobs in the EPL compared to when he first arrived on the English scene in 2004.
“When I first came here (after winning the 2004 Champions League with FC Porto) I think I did enough to deserve to be here. You come to the country No 1 in European football, to the no1 championship, and you feel that you have to deserve to be here.
“I think in this moment it’s too easy. I think the number of foreign coaches in the Premier League, even in the Championship — and maybe League One, I don’t know — it’s too big compared with the number of English, or in this case British managers,” he said.
“I’m not British but I feel sympathy.”