West Ham United have made former Birmingham City, Lazio and Internazionale forward Mauro Zárate their first summer signing

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Mauro Zarate celebrates scoring during a loan spell at Inter Milan. Picture: Action Images Mauro Zarate celebrates scoring during a loan spell at Inter Milan. Picture: Action Images

West Ham United have made former Inter Milan and Lazio forward Mauro Zárate their first summer signing.

Zárate, 27, joins the Hammers on a three-year deal with the option of a further year after his contract with Argentinian side Velez Sarsfield was terminated by mutual consent last week.

The Argentine has played in the Premier League before, having spent six months at Birmingham City with a view to permanent move to in 2008.

Unable to save the Blues from the drop - despite scoring four times in just five starts - Zárate joined Serie A side Lazio on loan the following season.

Following 13 goals in 33 league starts for Lazio, the 5ft9in striker signed for the Rome club on a permanent basis, joining in a €20m deal with a buyout clause of €60m in his contract.

The next three seasons did not prove to be as fruitful and Zárate managed just 12 more league goals in 56 starts for Lazio.

Another loan move - this time to Inter Milan in 2011/12 - brought just two goals in ten league starts before Zárate elected to return to his homeland and join Sarsfield in 2013.

Eighteen goals in 28 league starts last term represented comfortably the best goal return of the Haedo-born hitman's career.

Zárate had begun his professional career as Sarsfield in 2004 before joining Qatari side Al-Sadd three years later.

In a career spanning ten years, Zárate has won the Argentinian Clausura Championship, the Supercopa Argentina with Sarsfield, the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana with Lazio and the FIFA World Youth Championship with Argentina's Under-20s.

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