By Chelsea correspondent Tony Hughes| Premier League expert with experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
Chelsea are hopeful of sealing the signing of Alexandre Pato within the next 48 hours, Football Insider sources understand.
The Premier League champions are closing in on a loan deal for the Brazil striker this month following fresh talks with his club Corinthians over the weekend.
A Chelsea source has told Football Insider that personal terms have been agreed in principle between Pato and the Londoners after he was given permission to negotiate a transfer.
Pato has spoken to Chelsea star Willian about the possibility of a move and the players in the Blues squad expect the deal to be completed.
There is a growing sense among those close to the situation that a deal is nearly finalised although Pato will require a work permit to play in the UK before the deal would become official.
The two clubs are negotiating for the 26-year-old, who is rated in the £8-10million bracket by Corinthians.
The Premier League giants have been open to signing Pato on a permanent deal after initially preferring a loan with an option to buy in the summer.
Pato has just completed a relatively productive two-year loan spell at Sao Paolo but has fallen out of favour at his parent club, partly due to fitness issues.
Both parties are keen on a transfer to take place and Pato is said to be intent upon moving to the Premier League. 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 English clubs.
Pato has not played competitive football since November so will lack the required match fitness to step straight into the first-team.
Nevertheless, the forward has considerable pedigree. He has slipped down the pecking order for the Brazil national team but has a creditable record of 10 goals in 28 matches for his country, as well as 63 in 150 matches for AC Milan, where he spent five-and-a-half years.
Chelsea are keen to provide forward back-up to Diego Costa as they attempt to salvage something from a wretched season. They have made enquiries for Sadio Berahino and Jamie Vardy but are not hopeful of signing either of them.
Costa is the undisputed first choice at Stamford Bridge, but, the only other options are Radamel Falcao, who is out until March with a thigh injury, and Loic Remy. In total, the back-up pair have scored just four goals between them this season.