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Zarate completes West Ham move

Mauro Zarate celebrates a goal for Velez last month.
Mauro Zarate celebrates a goal for Velez last month.

West Ham United have announced the signing of Argentine forward Mauro Zarate from Velez Sarsfield on a three-year contract with a further one-year option.

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Zarate, who was the top scorer in the Argentina top division last season, spent the second half of the 2007-08 Premier League campaign on loan at Birmingham from Qatari side Al Sadd. Zarate then moved to Italian side Lazio and also played in Serie A for Inter Milan.

He becomes the Hammers' first summer signing after West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was told to make his team more entertaining next season, officially joining for an undisclosed fee when the international transfer window reopens in a few weeks.

"My reaction is that I am very happy to be at West Ham," the forward said in a statement released on the club's official website.  "This is a new chance for me and I want to play.

"I think I played well for Velez this season and that was important for me. I had some good team-mates and they helped to make it a fantastic season for me. If you ask me what I can bring to the squad then I say I hope I will bring goals. I will also bring dribbling skills and other attacking qualities.

"West Ham is a very important club and we know all about them and the Premier League in Argentina. This club is a beautiful club. I know English football from my time at Birmingham and I hope I will play well and reach the highest possible level.

"My aim is come here and do my best in order to help the club to climb as high as possible in the table and to reach European competition again."

The 27-year-old told Sky Sports on Monday that he had been approached by West Ham and confirmed he had agreed terms on a three-year contract.

Zarate completed a fine season in Argentina as a leading scorer in the Primera Division Torneo Final with 13 goals in 19 appearances, and 20 in 35 in all competitions.

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