Photo credit: AFP.

Argentine forward Mauro Zarate has joined Serie A club Fiorentina from West Ham, the Premier League side announced on Thursday.

Zarate signed for the Hammers from Velez Sarsfield in 2014, but struggled to hold down a regular first-team place following the arrival of new boss Slaven Bilic last year.

The 28-year-old, who had a disappointing loan spell at QPR last season, scored just five goals in 21 appearances in all competitions for West Ham this term.

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Zarate is reported to have agreed a two and a half year contract with Fiorentina, who are believed to have paid $2.2 million for the former Lazio star.

“Mauro has joined Fiorentina on a permanent contract. West Ham would like to thank Mauro for his efforts in Claret and Blue and wish him all the best in his future career,” the club said on their official Twitter account.

Zarate enjoyed one of the more productive periods of his career in his previous spell in Italy, winning the Coppa Italia with Lazio in 2008-09, and Fiorentina, currently six points behind leaders Napoli, hope he will boost their challenge for the Serie A title.