Former Arsenal striker target booed by his own fans - should Wenger rescue him?

Emirates Inside

Brazilian striker Alexandre Pato, a target for Arsenal last season, was booed off the pitch by Sao Paulo fans against Criciuma.

Pato, now 24, was tipped to be the next big thing in 2007 after 12 goals in 27 games for Internacional, and AC Milan bought into the hype by paying €22m to bring him to the San Siro. A talented, pacey striker, Pato had a decent record with the Rossoneri, scoring 63 goals in 150 games – but his prowess in front of goal wasn't the problem.

Pato's career has been marred by a spate of injuries, most of them leg muscle injuries. With Pato sidelined for far too long and unable to offer Milan anything productive, the forward was sold to Corinthians in January 2013 for €15m. He seemed to rediscover some of his form back in Brazil with 10 goals in 28 league games, but he quickly fell out of favour under new manager Mano Menezes, and was sent off on an 18-month loan deal in February this year.

Things haven't got any easier for him though, as having missed out on a place in Brazil's World Cup squad to Fred and Jo, Pato has scored just four goals in 18 games for Sao Paulo – and was even booed off the pitch by his own fans having missed a number of chances against Criciuma earlier this month.

Speculation continues to link Pato with a move back to Europe, as his loan deal can be cancelled this summer if a team wants to buy him. Inter Milan and Juventus have both been tipped to offer Pato a return to Italy, but could Arsenal rescue him from his Brazilian hell?

The Gunners had a £6.5m bid rejected for Pato in January, as Arsene Wenger looked to improve his attacking options. Alexis Sanchez has been signed this summer, but the club still need to sign a centre forward in order to relieve some of the pressure on Olivier Giroud's shoulders this season.

With Arsenal needing to add more pace to trouble teams in behind the defence, and Pato possesses that speed to be a threat. He may have injury concerns that will remind Arsenal fans of Abou Diaby, but given the small transfer fee that would be attached to Pato, he's certainly worth a gamble – and Wenger could be the perfect manager to get the best out of him.

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