By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Editor
The matter has been discussed from so many angles. There are Carlos Tevez's tantrums and Manchester City's insistence that they won't accept a loan deal, Alexandre Pato's relative youth and AC Milan's reluctance to give up on a player they've invested so much faith in over the past five years. The great conundrum over which striker should be a Rossoneri player come the end of January has been a point of debate for some months now.
But with so many question marks over the two forwards' futures, few have looked at the cold, hard statistics, which is what so many strikers are judged on, after all. And as Goal.com's analysis shows below, there are some incredible parallels to be drawn between the pair over the past four-and-a-half years.
The summer of 2007 saw Pato snapped up by European champions Milan from Internacional, with Tevez moving from West Ham United to Manchester United in a switch which propelled him to the top of European football. And while the Argentine has since played on both sides of the Manchester divide during that period, his status among the game's elite has been no less unwavering than Pato's.
The Brazilian was not eligible to play for the San Siro club until January 2008 due to his having signed on as a 17-year-old, but having missed the opening 17 games of the campaign he was immediately a first-team regular, scoring on his debut against Napoli.
|HOW THEY COMPARE | Pato & Tevez's stats since August 2007
|GOALS PER GAME
|GOALS PER GAME||0.67
|GOALS PER GAME||0.30
|GOALS PER GAME
|GOALS PER GAME||0.44
Since then, the likeness between the duo's records has been phenomenal, with each averaging just under a goal every two games in the league, holding a better goal average in national cup competitions, but also struggling to match their domestic stats in Europe.
In front of goal Pato trumps Tevez in Europe only, though many would claim that that is among the most important stats in our comparison. Meanwhile, Tevez has played more games in each of the four forms, reflecting the Brazilian's greater tendency to pick up injuries. Also to be considered is that Pato's delayed start with Milan has been matched over the last three months by the Manchester City star's club exile. Even taking into account the 12 games he has played in the Carling Cup, the Argentine has played 35 more games than Pato.
So, with Tevez having a very slight edge on goal ratio, and a greater lead in terms of goals scored and games played, it is he who would be given the nod by the Milan hierarchy were statistics alone at the heart of their thinking. Thrown into the mix with transfer fees, contracts, personalities and the rest, though, it will clearly be a much debated subject for some days yet at Via Turati.
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