31 Jan Pato punt
Chelsea interim boss Guus Hiddink approved the arrival of Alexandre Pato and denied the Brazil international’s signing is a gamble.
The 26-year-old former AC Milan forward has signed on loan from Brazilian club Corinthians until the end of the season, with the move being confirmed on Friday night.
Pato said on his new club’s website: “I am so happy to sign for Chelsea. It is a dream for me. I am looking forward to meeting and 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.”
Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy have fitness issues and uncertain futures at Chelsea and Hiddink sees Pato as a back-up to Diego Costa.
“It’s not a gamble,” said Hiddink, who was speaking ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at MK Dons.
“I said we are short of strikers, of available strikers, so I said let’s go for it.
“The green light was mine. Coming on loan makes it possible to have a good view on him, whether he is able to adapt to the high demands of the club and the league.”
Pato showed immense promise early in his career, but has been hampered by injuries in recent seasons.
It is uncertain when he will first be available to Hiddink and Chelsea.
The Dutchman described the move as “a brave step” and the success or failure depends on the player.
He added: “I will help him to make that next step, but it’s up to him.”
New York Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga’s move is near completion, too.
“He’s an up-and-coming youngster. I’ve not watched much of him,” Hiddink said.
Hiddink was asked about the contribution of Costa, who has six goals in six games after a prior fallow spell under Jose Mourinho, including netting last Sunday’s decisive strike in the Premier League win at Arsenal.
“Diego is delivering beyond expectations,” Hiddink said.
“He’s of huge importance for us. We’re depending a lot on him, too much sometimes.”
Yet Chelsea could be increasingly reliant on the Brazil-born Spain striker as Remy could be allowed to leave before Monday’s transfer deadline, while Falcao (thigh) remains injured.
On Remy, who has a calf problem, Hiddink said: “I don’t think being injured now has any influence on (him) staying or going.
“It’s a minor injury, so we will see what will happen in the upcoming hours.”
Hiddink has called on others to ease the goalscoring pressure on Costa and is poised to start Eden Hazard for the first time in four weeks at stadium:mk.
Hazard, who has not scored for Chelsea since May, has recovered from a groin injury.
Hiddink said: “It might be a big burden on (Costa), which is why I’m saying: ‘Hey guys, it’s not just Diego who has to deliver the goals.’ Other players I like to see deliver as well.”
Midfielder Ramires this week left for Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning for a fee reported to be in excess of £20million as Chelsea make changes to the squad ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline.
There was speculation of England vice-captain Gary Cahill being unsettled, but Hiddink expects the defender, who earlier this season signed a new four-year contract, to stay.
“There was no hint from his side ‘can I leave the club?’ Nothing,” Hiddink added.
“I think the club will have him in the upcoming years.”
Chelsea declined to address the prospect of FIFA scrutinising their recruitment of young players, referring to the club’s prior statement on the topic.
The Press Association this week revealed Burkina Faso international Bertrand Traore played for their Under-18s side when aged 16, in an apparent breach of FIFA regulations.
The Premier League champions could even face the prospect of being placed under a transfer embargo if found guilty of wrongdoing.
FIFA rules prohibit the international transfer of a minor (an under-18) and the Blues believe Traore was the subject of an option agreement which allowed him to play in friendly games.
Hiddink, who confirmed Traore would be in the squad on Sunday, is preoccupied by on-field matters and admits his caretaker status means he has little input on transfer strategy.
The Dutchman won the 2009 FA Cup during his first caretaker spell in charge and plans to take the competition seriously despite Premier League matches against Watford and Manchester United following in quick succession.
The Blues did not progress beyond the fourth round last season as League One Bradford came from two goals down to win 4-2 at Stamford Bridge in arguably the biggest cup upset in recent history.
“We’re not here to pass the time,” Hiddink added.
“Chelsea must always go for a title. FA Cup is a target.”