West Ham United are on the verge of securing a three-year deal with Mauro Zárate, who will return to the Premier League after a six year absence. The Argentine striker led his domestic league in scoring last season and returns to Europe after spending last season at Vélez Sarsfield.
The player had difficulty at Inter in the 2011-12 season and played just once for Lazio the following season before returning home to Argentina. Zárate’s previous stint in England saw him net four goals in 14 matches for Birmingham City — a decent return. But he was unable to prevent the side from being relegated that season. Following that season, he signed with Lazio where his production was initially excellent but his goal scoring declined each season. His loan spell at Inter was essentially a failure and his return to Lazio saw him fail to establish a first-term place.
Zárate told Sky Sports, “It’s a new chance for me. West Ham called me. They are a fierce team and now I think I want to play (there).”
The transfer to West Ham United is curious, and may signal an attempt by Sam Allardyce to abandon the direct style he has both been noted and criticized for especially given that he has agreed for the club to hire a coach to focus on attacking. Hammers supporters have been vocal over the course of the past several months about the style of football Allardyce employs and how they would like to see it shift towards more progressive principles.
The signing of Zárate is the first sign that “Big Sam” may be shifting styles. This will give the Hammers a plan B. And in Zárate, they also have another striking option other thanl the injury prone and unreliable Andy Carroll.