Belfast Telegraph

Redknapp targets Zarate loan

QPR boss Harry Redknapp believes Mauro Zarate can be the answer to his striker shortage but insists a deal has not yet been completed for the West Ham forward.

Zarate, who joined the Hammers from Argentine side Velez Sarsfield in the summer, reportedly underwent a medical at Rangers on Tuesday after struggling to establish himself at Upton Park.

Redknapp has made no secret of his desire to add at least one more striker to his squad in January and the Rangers manager believes Zarate fits the bill.

"He's a player we've been talking about loaning, it's not done yet though," Redknapp said.

"He's a number 10, a clever player who can open the door.

"I first came across him at Birmingham a few years back when he played under Alex McLeish.

"It's not done and dusted it's just something we're interested in - we are looking to loan a player or two."

Zarate has scored two goals in seven league appearances for West Ham this season but has struggled for a starting spot ahead of Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia and Andy Carroll.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce responded to claims he had treated Zarate unfairly by insisting the 27-year-old had simply not been good enough to secure a regular place in the side.

Redknapp said: "Sam said he's done well enough but you can see why he hasn't played - they've got Sakho, Valencia, Carroll, Carlton Cole and Zarate - they've got five strikers.

"They're good players and they've been in great form, they're a threat to anybody so it's been difficult for Zarate to get in.

"Maybe Sam prefers the others and they've been in great form so you can see why."

A goalless draw at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday leaves QPR 15th in the table and two points above the relegation zone.

Redknapp's side host Swansea on New Year's Day, hoping to continue their excellent form at Loftus Road which includes three wins in their last four home matches.

"Our home form has been fantastic for us, we've been difficult to beat at home," Redknapp said.

"We now play all the top teams at home in the second half of the season and we go away to the bottom teams."

Redknapp added: "Swansea are a good side, Garry Monk has done a great job with them and he's just carried on from where they were.

"They've had great managers in the last few years, who have gone on to do great things and he's another in that line."

Meanwhile, Swansea chairman Huw Jenkins says the club have received no bids for Wilfried Bony amid reports that Chelsea and Manchester City could be willing to spend big to land the Ivory Coast striker in January.

Bony finished 2014 as the Barclays Premier League's top marksman with his 20 goals putting him above Sergio Aguero (18), Yaya Toure (17) and Wayne Rooney (16).

The 26-year-old plays his final game for Swansea at QPR on New Year's Day before leaving for the African Cup of Nations and some fans fear it could be his last game for the club with title-chasing pair Chelsea and Manchester City reported to be lining up £30million bids.

But Jenkins has said neither he nor the club has been contacted by a rival for Bony, who cost Swansea a club record £12m when he signed from Dutch club Vitesse Arnhem in the summer of 2013 and has since scored 33 goals in 69 appearances for the Welsh club.

"There has been no enquiry to me or the club about Wilfried Bony," Jenkins told the Daily Mail on Wednesday.

"We are in the same position as any other club. Things are as they are.

"No one wants to lose players and if you are to lose players it has to be for the right offer.

"Bigger clubs than us have to deal with that - it's the nature of football these days. We are realistic about that.

"It's important to remember we are talking about a player who has scored more goals in 2014 than any other, including people who cost a lot of money."

Chelsea are understood to have scouted Bony in Swansea's 4-1 defeat at Liverpool on Monday while Manchester City's director of football Txiki Begiristain and head scout Gary Worthington were also in attendance at Anfield.

Swansea pair Ki Sung-yueng and Bony will make their final appearances before leaving for international duty.

Influential midfielder Ki will be away for the next month leading South Korea at the Asian Cup in Australia while top goalscorer Bony will be at the African Nations Cup with the Ivory Coast in the same period.

Jonjo Shelvey is set to start a four-match ban after being charged with violent conduct by the Football Association for elbowing Liverpool's Emre Can in the face in Swansea's 4-1 defeat on Monday night, while Ecuador winger Jefferson Montero is absent with a hamstring problem.

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