West Ham have agreed a deal to sign Velez Sarsfield striker Mauro Zarate as manager Sam Allardyce makes his first move in trying to produce a more attacking side following talks to keep his job with the club’s owners.
The club confirmed that Allardyce would remain in charge last week despite growing calls for him to be sacked from a selection of the club’s fans, but did admit that he must produce better results next season as well as a more appealing style of football.
And his first move to address that condition will be the signing of Zarate, with a three-year deal reportedly confirmed and ready to be announced on Tuesday. The Argentinian, who had a previous loan spell with Birmingham City in 2008, was the top scorer in Argentina’s Primera Division last season with 18 goals after he left Lazio last summer.
The striker told Sky Sports News: “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).”
Zarate has played for most of his career in Italy after joining Lazio in 2008, having spent part of the 2011/12 season with Inter Milan before returning to his homeland last year.
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
1/8 Guillermo Ochoa
The Mexican goalkeeper rose to fame thanks to his brilliant performance against Brazil in the World Cup. The 28-year-old, who left Ajaccio at the end of the season, has been linked with a move to the Premier League.
2/8 Rio Ferdinand
Both halves of Manchester United’s famous central defence for the past eight years are leaving this summer. Nemanja Vidic is off to Italy to play for Internazionale while Rio Ferdinand was told at the weekend that United would not be renewing his contract. Ferdinand said last week that if United did not offer him a new deal that he would be “open to offers” but joked that he “would not go below the Conference”. That is unlikely to be an issue as there should be no shortage of clubs looking for a defender of his experience. Queen’s Park Rangers, should they come up, are managed by Ferdinand’s old mentor Harry Redknapp, while even bigger teams like Arsenal could be tempted.
3/8 Diego Lugano
The Uruguay captain hit the headlines in Brazil for the wrong reasons as his complete denial that team-mate Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini when everyone else could see it. His contract with West Brom is up for renewal, but the 33-year-old is unlikely to remain in the Premier League.
4/8 Nicolas Anelka
Sacked by West Brom last season for his controversial 'Quenelle' gesture, Anelka has not yet confirmed whether he will sign for a new club - should anyone want him - or announce his retirement.
5/8 Frank Lampard
As with Terry and Cole, Lampard’s Chelsea deal expires at the end of the season and he is likely to follow Terry in signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge. Lampard is not the dynamic presence in midfield that he once was, and he started only 20 Premier League games this season. But as his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad demonstrated, his experience and presence are invaluable and he is more than worth having around. That said, if he does not renew at Chelsea, there would surely be offers from abroad, not least from long-time suitors LA Galaxy.
6/8 Marouane Chamakh
The Moroccan striker has completed a one-year deal at Crystal Palace that could barely have gone much better. Since he was entrusted with a role as a withdrawn striker by Tony Pulis in December, he has been excellent, scoring five goals and helping to drag Palace out of the relegation zone and into safety. Chamakh will be discussing his future with the club soon but he said last week that agreeing a new deal at Palace was his “priority”, after building an excellent rapport with the fans and playing his best football since his arrival in England from France in 2010. If not, he would like to stay in the Premier League.
7/8 Samuel Eto'o
The striker did not cover himself in glory at the 2014 World Cup, as Cameroon's campaign was blighted by a money row over bonuses and poor performances in Brazil that saw them eliminated at the group stages. However, the Champions League winner will still have a number of clubs interested in his services, with Arsenal being linked in recent weeks.
8/8 Nicklas Bendtner
Despite a fairly successful season by his standards, Nicklas Bendtner is on his way out of Arsenal. The Dane has scored twice this year, in wins over Hull and Cardiff, but he fell behind Yaya Sanogo in the pecking order while not always conducting himself immaculately off the pitch. He turned down moves away from Arsenal last summer that would have meant pay cuts but this summer he must be hopeful of maximising his value as a free agent.
But he is now set to return to England for a second stint in the Premier League, having been signed on loan by West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold when they were at the helm of Birmingham during their Premier Lague days.
Other targets for Allardyce include free agents Joleon Lescott and Martin Olsson after they were released by Manchester City and Norwich respectively, although the Hammers manager is believed to have around £20m available to spend on strengthening the squad.Reuse content