Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink hails Pato for 'brave' move

Guus Hiddink has insisted that signing Alexandre Pato was "not a gamble" as he is only on loan, even though the Brazilian striker will need time to get fit before he can compete for a place in the team.

The Chelsea interim manager - whose side go to minnows MK Dons in the FA Cup fourth round tomorrow - praised the 26-year-old's decision to leave Brazil and come to England as "a brave step" for a player trying to get his career back on track, three years after he was sold by AC Milan.

Pato finalised his move last night and said: "I am so happy to sign for Chelsea. It is a dream for me. I am looking forward to getting to know my new team-mates and cannot wait to play.

"I thank Chelsea for their support and hope I can repay this faith to the club and its fans."

Hiddink, however, admitted that it would take Pato "a while" to get ready to play. The Brazilian forward is over the muscle injuries that ruined much of his time at Milan and Corinthians, but he still has not played for two months.

While Hiddink intends to use him as backup for Diego Costa, he may not be able to do so for a while.

"We will measure his physical fitness," Hiddink said. "It also depends on his body, whether he can get into shape quickly.

"He does not need weeks and weeks to lose kilos. I am curious to see him, we will see if he has the pace."

Hiddink said that he would be "second or third to Diego".

Loïc Rémy is out with a calf injury and could join Newcastle before the transfer window closes on Monday. Radamel Falcao has not played since October and is no closer to a return. Patrick Bamford is close to joining Norwich City on loan.

Hiddink added: "He (Pato) could have been playing in Brazil. In Brazil, there's a bit more space to play. Here it's 90 minutes of tempo, less space and less time. That's why you must respect his step. If he didn't have this desire, he would not have made this step."

Chelsea have also signed American defender Matt Miazga from the New York Red Bulls.

Belfast Telegraph


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