Wednesday November 28 2012
What next for Zarate?

Having struggled to find space in Vladimir Petkovic’s side, Mauro Zarate’s Lazio tenure appears to be over. Luca Cetta asks where his future lies.

Locating his name on the teamsheet is a tougher task than spotting striped hero Wally in a red and white field. A peripheral figure under Doctor Petkovic this term, smart money suggests Mauro Zarate cannot wait for New Year’s Eve. The world will celebrate the arrival of 2013, the Argentine the opening of the January transfer window.

One Serie A appearance against Genoa totalling 68 minutes is all Zarate has mustered domestically. His European record is slightly better. A whistle-to-whistle outing versus Panathinaikos followed three substitute appearances, two of which saw Zarate enter the field as early as the 80th minute. Being a Europa League specialist says something about your squad standing. Being a Europa League benchwarmer further compounds the situation.

It is the continuation of a disastrous 18 months. Inter failed to take up their option to sign Maurito following his loan spell. In 22 Serie A appearances he scored just twice and looked a shadow of the player who burst on to the Italian scene. That shadow has further faded under Petkovic. There has even been a hint of disciplinary issues. Zarate was dropped for the trip to Pescara, with director Igli Tare then meeting with his agent.

It was not always this way. Zarate arrived in Rome on loan from Qatari club Al-Sadd in 2008-09. A stellar season ended with 13 goals and the Coppa Italia trophy. It convinced notoriously stingy Claudio Lotito to splash around €20m for his permanent signature. While unfair to label his entire Lazio stint as all-sad, he never again reached those initial heights. Three goals represented a meagre return the next campaign but as Lazio chased the Champions League in 2010-11 they were helped by Zarate’s nine strikes.

Delio Rossi got the best out of the dynamic figure and feels he has lost his way at Formello. “The problem with Zarate is that he is no longer himself. He has become distorted and today he’s an anonymous player.”

A figure of €8m has been floated about. Perhaps a shrewd investment for a clearly talented player, it could be calamitous given recent seasons. Nonetheless, there are interested parties. Zarate may swap one Stadio Olimpico for another. From the heart of the 1960 Summer Games, his new home could be the centre of the 2006 Winter Games. If he were to sign for Torino it would likely be on loan initially.

When asked about Zarate and Napoli’s Eduardo Vargas earlier this month, Toro boss Giampiero Ventura said: “They are excellent players. I like both of them. They have excellent technical abilities. It is too early to say anything conclusive though. January is still far away.”

The Granata link refuses to dissipate. Ex-Lazio and Torino defender Roberto Cravero believes a move north would suit the Argentine. “Zarate has undoubted quality. But he cannot express that at Lazio...I don’t think many people have enough confidence in the boy. For that reason, I think signing for Torino would be the right option. He would have the backing of the whole club, and would return to the great player we all know he can be.”

Would Toro suit the attacker? Zarate is at home in a front two, preferably starting on the left to cut inside on to his right foot. He can also operate in a wider position. He would be useful alongside Rolando Bianchi in Ventura’s attacking 4-4-2. Aside from the captain’s four goals, Toro struggle. Gianluca Sansone and Alessandro Sgrigna have netted once, Riccardo Meggiorini is yet to get off the mark and none possess the creativity of Zarate. Out wide Ventura balances temperamental figure Alessio Cerci with the harder-working Mario Santana on the left so may not want to alter that configuration.

The South American has been further linked to Genoa and Palermo, as well as internationally to Moscow pair Spartak and CSKA, plus Malaga and English duo Stoke City and Liverpool. At this stage Torino remains the most likely destination. Yet whether the Granata or elsewhere, Zarate has the opportunity to steady what is a stuttering career.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
I think Napoli are gonna sign Flocarri, Zarate is just a waste of space,
on the 30th November, 2012 at 11:07am
I agree with Cavani07! Napoli already have Insigne & Vargas. I also feel that Mazzarri's tactics won't get the best out of him, just like they aren't making use of Insigne's talent. To me, 352 doesn't suit small tricky forwards. They find too much traffic through the middle. If Napoli & Juve used a 433, Insigne & Giovinco would flourish, just like SES has since Allegri pushed him out wide. There is more space, & the player will have more options.
on the 29th November, 2012 at 10:27am
I loved Zarate when he first burst onto the scene with Lazio, he seemed to be a free scoring wide player one we haven't had the likes of for a long time, then it all went badly wrong, it all went to his head believing he was better than he actually was, the amount of times I watched him get the ball in later seasons and then just imploring him to pass, far too greedy and lazy, we should have known things were off when he started referring to himself in the 3rd person.
on the 29th November, 2012 at 9:17am
Zarate's problem is his brother who was his agent for a while, he definitely doesn't have the right guidance around him and he ruined his career because he doesn't work hard enough on the field or during practice, and he has a problem listening to instructions. He had the same problem with Reja, but it is true he did the best under Delio Rossi, maybe he should go wherever Delio Rossi ends up going if he does anytime soon.
on the 29th November, 2012 at 5:03am
Napoli wont use zarate.he is talented but they dont use vargas and quite frankly we dont see enough insigne where would he play... maybe a swap for edu.v but then as a fan id be upset edu has lots of potential
on the 28th November, 2012 at 11:24pm
It is a shame that Zarate couldn't be the player he was in his first season at Lazio. He became too selfish and full of himself. When playing with Pandev he was amazing, I think Napoli shoud try and get him, with Pandev and Cavani he could be great again. He doesn't have the pace he had when he was 22 either, which was one of his main attributes. Problem with Zarate is he doesn't know how to scored an easy goal, everything has to be from 25+ yards out.
on the 28th November, 2012 at 5:32pm
A classic sernario where this clown thought he was bigger and better than LAZIO......shipped off to Inter and failed, back to Laio and is not needed, bad player bad investment from Lolito, thinks he is better than he is.....not even played one game for Argentina send him to Pescara thats his level, oh and no 10...never should he have been aloud that number!
on the 28th November, 2012 at 5:09pm
should come back to the EPL was good there a few seasons
when Wigan Ath had him on loan, would do a good job at Everton or W.B.A
on the 28th November, 2012 at 4:48pm
Toro would be an ideal side for him and Palermo is just as good, if only because Zamparini and Zarate are just as crazy as each other.

I agree that his career hasn't lived up to expectations. I have that feeling that he might keep wasting his talent. Adem Ljajic was in a similar situation but he seems to have a role at Fiorentina.
on the 28th November, 2012 at 3:42pm

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