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."

Redknapp added: "It's important to have options up front. You need somebody else to weigh in with goals.

"We can't rely on Charlie (Austin) getting all the goals.

"It's an area we're looking at but it's difficult, who is going to loan you a striker who will score 10 to 12 goals before the end of the season? Everyone is looking for a striker."

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."

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