He was a shining light at St Andrews last season, and Birmingham’s on-loan Argentine striker scored some important goals, but looks set to snub a return the Midlands and jet off to Rome.
Lazio have comfirmed they are close to signing Mauro Zarate, the striker who scored 4 goals in his time in the Premiership, from Qatar champions Al-Sadd Sports Club. Biancocelesti president Claudio Lotito revealed that there were many things to iron out, but he was satisfied the deal and Zarate’s potential:
We won’t announce anything until we have deposited his contract with the authorities. But, save any complications, we are on the right path to signing the player.
He is a player who has barely turned 21 and he could represent the future of Lazio
The complexity of the agreement appears to be similar to Carlos Tevez’s move to Manchester United last summer. Zarate will move initially on a year’s loan for €3million. Before next May, Lazio could buy half of Zarate’s rights for €5.5million. They can then buy the remaining half a year later for €8.5million. The full total of a successful move will come to €17million (£13.5million), which is rather steep for a player who only scored 4 goals in half a season. However, Lotito sees this as an investment in a future world-beater:
Certainly it’s a significant investment, but if we’re closing the deal it means that we believe in it.
The terms of the agreement foresee a valuation of the player which will rise to around €25million because Zarate will turn out better than Lionel Messi.
Whether a player who wasn’t amazingly successful at Birmingham can turn out to be World Player of the Year is open to debate! Surrounded by higher quality players can change a player, but expecting that of him on arrival seems rather optimistic. I’ll happily be told otherwise if it happens, however.