I am a huge fan of Mauro Zarate and thought he was probably the best number 10 at the club before his move to QPR – a bold claim to make considering the season Stewart Downing is having. I also tend to think it’s a bit of a risky move letting him go when you consider we’re either going to lose Diafra Sakho to the African Cup of Nations or to injury. But Sam Allardyce bombed out Ravel Morrison this and last season and whilst at the time we couldn’t understand it with his wonder goal at the Lane still reverberating around our minds, it did turn out to be the right decision.
He struggled to make any kind of impact at QPR and, laterally, Cardiff City. Ravel’s departure from the first team scene has had no negative impact on our results and his memory is quickly fading. It’s not identical but it’s kind of a similar situation; remember when the ‘special one’ himself kicked Juan Mata out of Stamford Bridge?
He was Chelsea’s player of the year, put in countless incredible and match-winning performances, the fans adored him, but he simply didn’t fit into Mourinho’s plans and that was that – he was gone. Since his departure have Chelsea missed Mata? Of course there is a world of difference between us and Chelsea, but the principle is the same: if a player doesn’t fit, you let him go.
Zarate, however, has had his moments; that wonder goal at Palace, his wonderful cameo at Goodison and there is Was letting Zarate join QPR pragmatic or just a bit daft? Kwame Boakye considers the impact of letting a talented striker go… Mauro Zarate the chance that he could make Sam look very foolish indeed if he starts scoring for fun at QPR. I don’t feel Mauro has been given enough of an opportunity but there must be a reason for that but we are not privy to what happens in training sessions or his demeanour/attitude in the dressing room. I know that fans will harp on about the fact that he’s a ‘Sullivan signing’, but so was Sakho and Sam has never had an issue selecting him.
Mauro’s departure has left us light up front and from that point of view, you do have question it, especially when you consider an injury or suspension and we’re down to just two available strikers. Could the powers that be have already have lined up a suitable replacement? I don’t think any of us would dare quibble with the quality of recent acquisitions, so who could honestly say that we couldn’t find a replacement of a higher calibre?
David Sullivan can certainly spot a striker; it was he who tied up deals for Sakho, Demba Ba and infamously wanted to sign Wilfried Bony over Andy Carroll. Perhaps a deal is being put together for yet another striker to arrive on our shores and make an instant impact? Mauro Zarate is undeniably a quality striker and no-one really wanted him to leave, but it is worth pointing out that with him very much on the periphery this season, we’ve risen to the dizzying and heady heights of fourth – in fact for the majority of the season we’ve occupied fourth spot with Zarate hardly playing a starring role.
Whilst the timing may not exactly be ideal with Sakho’s enforced absence, the possibility of replacing Zarate with a striker who is capable of making a major impact on our season is an exciting proposition. Financial Fair Play dictates that we must get players off our books before we can bring anyone in and whilst those frankly ridiculous tweets going around about Kevin Nolan and Carlton Cole still being at the club yet Zarate is being booted out may sound reasonable, they are in fact anything but.
In a perfect world the club would love to move on players we no longer need, however, I think it might prove difficult finding interested parties. If we wish to bring players in we may need to let go of someone we’d rather keep, the emphasis always has to be on the bigger picture.