Birmingham boss hails wonderkid
Argentinian wonderkid Mauro Zarate has completed his loan move from Qatari side Al-Sadd to Birmingham City - just months after making a £10million move to the Middle East.
The 20-year-old striker, who scored the winning goal during last year's FIFA U-20 World Cup, will be at St Andrews until the end of the season. According to the official site, Zarate will play for the reserves against Arsenal tonight if he receives international clearance by 5pm.
Boss Alex McLeish told the club's official site: "We're excited about bringing the player in on loan. He's one of the Argentinean young guns that were successful in the U20's championship last year. I've heard really good things about him. It's a kind of bonus type signing and one that we hope can turn games. He's one of those guys that's comfortable with a ball and caressing a ball, like a lot of South Americans who seem to have those traits.
"I don't want to compare him to the Argentinean greats but he's of that mould. He has great balance and mobility. He can play anywhere along the front four. It's another bit of competition up there, but more importantly, it's somebody that we think can create something out of nothing."
Although Al-Sadd are not the biggest name in football, Zarate is highly rated in his native Argentina and there were a few raised eyebrows when he left Velez Sarsfield for Qatar in the summer, in a move that apparently had more to do with creating financial security for the player rather than footballing reasons.
Zarate looks a decent player - and he must be of a fairly reasonably standard if any team are prepared to pay £10million for him. He against found the net for Al-Sadd on Friday, although it's fair to say the standard of competition in the Premier League is somewhat higher!