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QPR close on Mauro Zarate loan to bolster survival bid

QPR, 13/8 with Coral to be relegated this season, will sign Mauro Zarate on loan from London rivals West Ham United for the rest of the season in time for the Argentine forward to make his debut away at fellow strugglers Burnley.

The 27-year-old only joined the Hammers from Velez Sarsfield last summer, but has fallen out of favour since Andy Carroll’s return to fitness. Zarate has also attracted criticism from West Ham boss Sam Allardyce.

When asked why the player has not had much game time recently, Big Sam said: “He wasn’t good enough. I base my feelings on what I consider to be the best team. It’s a professional, clinical decision, not an emotional one. Mauro is not good enough to play as regularly as he wants compared to the others. It’s as simple as that.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Zarate as he prepares to turn out across the capital in QPR colours, but Harry Redknapp is short on striking options. The Hoops are heavily reliant on leading marksman Charlie Austin, who has scored 12 of their 22 Premier League goals so far.

Target man Bobby Zamora always seems to struggle to stay fit, with niggling injuries a recurring problem. Chile forward Eduardo Vargas, on loan at Loftus Road from Napoli, is often deployed wide. Redknapp’s raid for Zarate gives him a temporary attacking partner for Austin that offers something different.

While QPR main man Austin is an all-round goalscorer, Zarate operates best slightly deeper in the number 10 position. Prior to Stewart Downing’s sensational resurgence and reinvention as a player off the front, it was the Argentine playing at the head of West Ham’s diamond.

Against lowly Burnley, it is the perfect place for Zarate to make his Hoops debut, as the Clarets have conceded five times in their last two outings. Sean Dyche’s side sit second-bottom and are the odds-on 1/2 favourites to go down.