Alexandre Pato has made clear to Chelsea his desire to move to Stamford Bridge this month and his arrival could yet see Radamel Falcao cut short a disappointing season-long loan and return to AS Monaco.
The champions have held discussions with Pato’s representatives exploring the possibility of bringing the former Milan forward, capped 27 times by Brazil, to England and reports in Brazil suggest personal terms have been verbally agreed in principle by the player.
The 26-year-old is contracted to Corinthians, having spent a recent productive two-year spell on loan at Sao Paulo, and is valued at around £10 million, with talks now to step up between the clubs.
Chelsea may still be keener to secure Pato initially on loan with a view to a permanent three-year deal if the striker makes a positive impact. But, with the Premier League club having made little progress to date in their pursuit of the likes of Alex Teixeira at Shakhtar Donetsk or even Leicester City's Jamie Vardy, they consider the Brazilian an option worth pursuing given the pedigree he displayed during his five-year stint with the Rossoneri.
Pato is intent upon moving to England. He rejected a lucrative offer from the Chinese second division side Tianjin Quanjian earlier this month and his agents instead made known the player’s availability to a number of Premier League clubs, with the noises from Chelsea the most encouraging.
The forward is understood to have already spoken with his compatriot Willian and his former Milan team-mate Marco Amelia - who is third-choice goalkeeper at the club - and is hopeful a deal will now be struck with Corinthians.
The striker would require a work permit, and has not played competitive football since November so will lack match fitness to step straight into the first-team, but he would otherwise appear to be a relatively simple deal for Chelsea to pursue in a difficult transfer window.
While Loic Remy might have hoped Pato's arrival would free him up to pursue first-team opportunities elsewhere, with clubs in China and the Premier League having expressed an interest in the France international, there is a reluctance to let him leave Stamford Bridge. Indeed, Falcao's departure would appear to be far more likely this month after an injury-hit loan spell that has yielded a solitary goal to date.
The Colombian has been absent since the end of October with a thigh complaint, an injury picked up on the eve of a Champions League tie against Dynamo Kiev and described last week by Guus Hiddink as serious.
Falcao travelled back to France last week for tests at his parent club with the Monaco vice-president, Vadim Vasilyev, subsequently suggesting the problem was too grave for them to consider cancelling the loan arrangement to restore the Colombian to the ranks at Stade Louis II.
Yet further talks have taken place since and, with the player - who is contracted at the Ligue 1 side until 2018 - having posted photographs on Instagram of himself working in the gym in the hope everything will “return to normal” soon, there remains the possibility the 12-month arrangement will be cut short.
That would effectively see Pato replace Falcao on Chelsea's books for the remainder of the campaign, joining Remy as an understudy to Diego Costa, as they pursue the FA Cup and Champions League - they face Paris Saint-Germain next month - and attempt to extricate themselves from lower mid-table in the Premier League.
Additional activity at Stamford Bridge is expected to include the defender Branislav Ivanovic signing a one-year contract extension, while Papy Djilobodji - whose Chelsea career has amounted to a single minute's action in the League Cup tie at Walsall - is to join Bundesliga side Werder Bremen on loan.