Former West Ham United striker Dean Ashton has hailed the Club's capture of Argentine forward Mauro Zarate.

The one-time England international says the arrival of Zarate is a welcome boost to the Hammers' attack, with the 27-year-old having scored 20 goals for Velez Sarsfield last term.

With nearly three months to go until the start of the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League campaign, Ashton fully expects the Club to add further firepower to Sam Allardyce's arsenal between now and then.

"It's great that West Ham have acted quickly," Ashton, who scored 19 goals in 56 games in Claret and Blue between 2006 and 2009. "It's obvious that they need some striking options, not only in this signing but I'm sure they'll be looking to bring some more in alongside Andy Carroll."

Ashton believes Zarate's loan spell with Premier League side Birmingham City in 2008 will stand him in good stead when the new campaign gets underway on 16 August.

Mauro Zarate
Mauro Zarate spent six months with Birmingham City in 2008

"He's had experience in England with Birmingham in the past and it'll be great to see how he gets on.It will help that he's had experience of England before. It's a different culture and many players who come to this country say it's a lot different to anywhere else.

"Only time will tell how successful he his and hopefully he's given a real chance in the team to see how he progresses."

Ashton also claims the signing of Zarate is an illustration of the Hammers' determination to play a more expansive and entertaining game in the future.

The 5'9" South American is a skilful and elusive player blessed with a low centre of gravity - making him markedly different in style and stature from the Club's other main strikers Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole.

"Andy Carroll has taken a lot of the burden and Carlton Cole has come back in and done a decent job, but we have to be looking for striking options in a different way of playing," said Ashton.

"When you have Andy up there there's one way of playing, but Sam Allardyce wants options, when perhaps that's not working, to bring other players on and change the formation."

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