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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr 1, 2008

Zarate determined to make mark with Birmingham

Birmingham's Mauro Zarate has revealed Tottenham and Newcastle were interested in signing him before he moved to St Andrews on loan.

The Argentinian striker has no regrets about his choice and is confident Alex McLeish's side can win their battle to stay in the Premier League.

Zarate joined Blues from Qatar side Al-Sadd after failing to adapt to life in Dubai and has scored three goals in his last two games to help open up a four-point lead above third-from-bottom Bolton.

He said: 'Birmingham were the first club to come in for me and the ones that pushed the hardest to get me out of there [Al-Sadd].

'Once I knew Birmingham wanted to sign me, I did my best to convince the Al-Sadd owners.

'There were other clubs interested just before I signed here. From England, there were Tottenham and Newcastle. But I am very happy with my choice.

'Maybe here I have the chance to play more regularly, and it's great to be in the team now. I like the city and the atmosphere at the stadium,' he added.

Zarate is confident Birmingham will beat the drop.

'My message to supporters is that Blues will stay in the Premier League,' he said. 'I will do everything I can to help. I hope the fans will remember the contribution I made in England. I would like to stay here for many years - but I know I will have to fight for it.

'I am here to make my mark and make people remember me. I will give my best to make sure that happens. English football is quick and physical, but that is not a problem for me.'

Zarate was not so happy in the Middle East.

'The way of life in Qatar is very different to the rest of the world, so it was a bit of a culture shock,' he recalls. 'I never thought Al-Sadd would let me go, because they paid a very high transfer fee for me [£10million] just a few months ago.

'But I knew the chance to come to Birmingham was very important. After speaking to Al-Sadd a few times and pushing them for a move to England, they agreed to let me go - and here is the result.

'Since I was a child, the two leagues I admired most were the English and the Spanish leagues.

'Almost every game is shown Argentina, so I am a big fan of the English game. I like the speed of the game and the quality players that are playing here.'