West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of prolific Argentine forward Mauro Zarate.

The gifted Zarate, who becomes the Hammers' first summer capture, will join the Club on a three-year contract with a further one-year option from Velez Sarsfield when the international transfer window opens next month.

The 27-year-old arrives at the Boleyn Ground having enjoyed a prolific season in his homeland, where he finished as leading scorer in the Primera Division Torneo Final with 13 goals in 19 appearances, and 20 in 35 in all competitions

A skilful attacker capable of playing in a centre forward or withdrawn role and scoring spectacular goals, the Haedo-born player also numbers Birmingham City and Italian giants Lazio and Internazionale among his former clubs.

Having returned for a second spell in the Premier League, Zarate wants to show West Ham fans exactly what he can do.

"My reaction is that I am very happy to be at West Ham," said the forward, who becomes the fifth Argentine to represent the Club following Mauricio Taricco, Lionel Scaloni, Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tévez. "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."

After a fantastic season in his homeland, Zarate has big ambitions for his new Club.

"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."

Looking back at the new boy's career, Zarate joined Velez Sarsfield as a schoolboy, making his debut against Arsenal de Sarandi in April 2004, just a month past his 17th birthday.

Strong, skilful and blessed with a low centre of gravity, he quickly established himself in the El Fortín forward line, scoring 47 goals in 135 appearances in all competitions. He won the Argentine Primera Division Clausura title in 2005 and was top goalscorer in the Apertura championship in 2006.

Zarate joined Qatari side Al-Sadd in summer 2007 before moving to Birmingham City in January of the following year. At St Andrews, he netted four goals in 14 Premier League games.

Mauro Zarate
Mauro Zárate is proud to be joining West Ham United

The forward moved to Lazio, where he quickly enamoured himself by scoring twice on his full debut at Cagliari and again on his home debut against Sampdoria. In three seasons at the Stadio Olimpico, he netted 33 times in 119 appearances in all competitions.

Summer 2011 saw Zarate move to Internazionale, where he spent 18 months before moving back to first club Velez Sarsfield in July 2013.

At international level, he helped Argentina win the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2007, partnering Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and scoring the winning goal in the final victory over Czech Republic.

"I speak with Sergio always and he told me to come to England because it is the football for me," added Zarate, who will report for pre-season training with his new team-mates on 3 July.

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