In a rapid and unexpected turn of events, Mauro Zarate has reportedly just joined Fiorentina on loan from West Ham. The player had to take a significant pay cut from his current €2.5 million salary with the Hammers to make the deal work. While the terms remain hazy, rumor is that the deal is worth about €2 million, and that the striker will sign a contract that will keep him in Florence until 2018.
The 28-year-old Argentine has picked up a couple of minor knocks already this year, but has 5 goals and 2 assists in 21 appearances. Slaven Bilic has mostly used him on the wing, although Zarate spent more time as a second striker in his more successful stints with Vélez Sarsfield and for his one splendid year with Lazio in 2008. He's stagnated following a disastrous tenure with Inter Milan, and has only sown occasional signs of becoming the player we briefly glimpsed nearly a decade ago.
As a player, Zarate is more quick than fast, with excellent dribbling technique and some tricks up his sleeve. His preferred method of attack is to run at defenders at pace, cut inside, and finish low into the far corner. He's more than willing to shoot from anywhere on the pitch, even when there are better-placed teammates around. He is, frankly, a frustrating player, a guy who scores the odd spectacular goal or bamboozles a defender with brilliant dribbling, then vanishes for the remainder of the match. If Giuseppe Rossi leaves, the Zarate kid would be a solid depth addition behind Nikola Kalinic, Josip Ilicic, and Khouma Babacar. Expecting much more from him, though, is probably a recipe for disappointment. Anyways, enjoy this highlight video of him with Lazio, which is unironically titled "Mauro Zarate: the best player in the world 2010."