Corinthians fume as Alexandre Pato rejects huge offer from Chinese club
Corinthians have revealed that striker Alexandre Pato has rejected a lucrative move to Chinese second division side Tianjin Quanjian - as he holds out hope of a move back to Europe instead.
Pato, 26, has recovered his form and fitness since returning to Brazil in January 2013 - and has now reportedly targeted a return to Europe following his disappointing first spell on the continent with AC Milan.
The Brazil international is out of contract at the end of the season and parent club Corinthians are desperate to recoup some of the €15 million they spent on the striker, rather than risk losing him for nothing when his current deal expires.
It looked like their prayers had been answered when Tianjin Quanjian lodged a lucrative offer for Pato - with the club barely able to contain their surprise and disappointment when the player subsequently rejected the deal on the table.
According to reports, Tianjin were ready to pay €20m for the forward - while offering him a contract worth around €13.5m-a-year (approximately £190,000-a-week).
"The offer he had to go to China is a deal I've never seen," Corinthians president Roberto de Andrade said. "If they came to buy an industry in here in Brazil it would not be with an offer so big."
Andrade added: "He [Pato] didn't see himself in a country like China. The decision to stay or leave is not in the club's hand."
Pato's situation has been a significant issue for Corinthians in recent times - with the club loaning him to arch-rivals Sao Paulo for the last two campaigns in order to subsidise much of the cost of his salary.
The player has previously spoken of a desire to play in the Premier League, with Liverpool and Tottenham linked. His agent has also suggested a return to Serie A could be a possibility.