Blues target Argentine wonderkid
Birmingham City are reportedly on the verge of a season-long loan swoop for Argentina youth international forward Mauro Zarate, who currently plays for little-known Qatari club Al-Sadd.
Blues have approached the Middle Eastern club about making such a move, with the option of making the deal permanent, according to a statement on the Middle Eastern club's website.
Although Al-Sadd are not the biggest name in football, 20-year-old attacker is fairly highly rated in his native Argentina and there were a few raised eyebrows when he left Velez Sarsfield for Qatar in the summer. Zarate's also scored the winning goal in the final when Argentina won the FIFA U-20 World Cup last year.
The statement on Al-Sadd's website read: "Al-Sadd club received an offer from the Premier League club Birmingham City to seek the service of the club`s Argentina star Mauro Zarate on loan from January until end of the season with a possible ultimate transfer. Al-Sadd club has no objection to accept the offer. The club would announce a final decision within the forthcoming few days."
When Zarate moved to Al-Sadd there were suggestions he decided to make the move for financial rather than footballing reasons - suggestions supported by comments he made at the time. In the summer Zarate's agent said the two-year deal "was not ideal in footballing terms but it will give him and his family financial security".
All very interesting - perhaps the Middle East is an untapped hotbed of footballing talent...or just a place young players go to get rich quick!