Mauro Zarate’s curious West Ham departure


It would be quite contrary to question Sam Allardyce’s job performance this season.  West Ham have generally been brilliant and their league position is a product of their manager’s willingness to move away from his own philosophy and towards a system which is far more aesthetically pleasing and, most importantly, more effective.

Still though, the decision to loan Mauro Zarate to Queens Park Rangers this month feels like a very Allardyce moment.

David Sullivan made some interesting comments last week.  First, he revealed that he had agreed a deal for Wilfried Bony before Allardyce opted for Andy Carroll and the Ivorian signed for Swansea.  Then, probably to his manager’s embarrassment, he admitted that the inspired acquisition of Diafra Sakho was his decision and that Allardyce had actually lobbied for Connor Wickham instead.

Connor Wickham.  Ouch.

That paints quite an ambiguous picture of just how West Ham arrived in this situation.  This site has published a lot of negative Sam Allardyce articles in the past, so I accept that this is going to sound rather contrived, but doesn’t it seem as if he’s been dragged kicking and screaming up the table by the better judgement of those above and around him?

If Allardyce had been afforded autonomy over the club’s transfer strategy, would this side be anything like as diverse as it is or would it just be a collection of formulaic, over-priced English players?

At a guess, Mauro Zarate wasn’t Allardyce’s signing, either.

“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.”

Zarate is a notoriously difficult personality.  His career-to-date suggests that he’s a highly-combustible character and that he is difficult to manage.  But not good enough?  This is a player who can play as a centre-forward or in a range of attacking-midfield positions and who undeniably provides this squad with something unique.  His stature may not be ideal for English football, but his technical ability should make him an asset to West Ham - whether from the start of games or from the substitutes’ bench.

Stewart Downing has been a revelation in a more central role this year, but he can’t be expected to sustain his level of performance across a thirty-eight game season.  Superficially, not only was Zarate an alternative to Downing, but he was also different to any other attacking player at the club - and, as such, surely he had a value?

If Downing tweaks a hamstring at some point, then what is the contingency plan?  Kevin Nolan?

When this decision was made, Allardyce was theoretically about to lose Cheik Kouyate, Diafra Sakho and Alex Song to the Africa Cup of Nations.  As it happens, only Kouyate will be taking part in the tournament, but that only became apparent after Zarate’s departure was sanctioned.

How bizarre; no, he doesn’t provide cover in central midfield, but would have given West Ham essential depth at a time when their squad was likely to be stretched.

There’s something not right here.  At a guess, Zarate ‘isn’t good enough’ in the same way that Ravel Morrison wasn’t.

If he helps to drag QPR up the table and if West Ham start to slide down it, expect this topic to return with a vengeance.

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6 Comments on "Mauro Zarate’s curious West Ham departure"

  1. Great point

    David Sullivan’s comments have put my opinion of Big Sam into a different light

    That said transfer decisions should not be made by the manager alone they should be made by a team of people a group decision

    Lets just imagine if they only listened to Big Sam and his a relatively successful manager wow some of the lower grade managers who get big flop transfers sanctioned

    My personal favourite for the season was Brown Ideye to West Brom for a club record fee. A manager with no first team management history breaking a traditional yo-yo clubs transfer record for an unproven striker.

  2. Not even worth commenting, anymore.
    Zarate was and could have been exactly what was needed…
    better rotations, maybe just rotations and experimentation anyway, Ravel back in… and for gods sake a better manager.
    The tree as i see it…
    one-Manager says player bad- get rid of him bye Morrison.
    Two-manager says player bad- get rid of him bye Zarate.
    Three-Everyone says manager bad-Get Rid of Him Please.
    Two Again- Bring back Zarate.
    One Again-Bring back Morrison.
    And lets play Football,,, maybe a bit of speed and style thrown in….


  3. tony gore | Jan 9, 2015 at 7:33 am |

    It does not matter who is charge, if they want to win! They will. its the will to win that’s missing.

  4. I seem to remember reading repeatedly that the signings were coming to West Ham to encourage Allardyce to play more expansively. I figured this meant he wasn’t going to last long into the season and they would struggle because the players wouldn’t suit how he likes to play, but he did adapt. I think maybe he’s reverted to his comfort zone of “I’m brilliant” and is letting his ego take over a bit more then he had, or maybe he’s just getting his players back.

    Either way this is another case of Martinez last season, flavours of the month are elevated too rapidly, especially considering a few this season have been ridiculed in the last 12 months, Pardew’s 6 wins being a good example.

  5. The main question I have though is why David Sullivan feels the need to go public with the comments about signings. Apart from satisfying his own ego, how is he supporting his manager through these comments?

  6. Will Overall | Jan 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm |

    We are where we are despite of BFS not because of and if we had not have had AC or Nolan injured at the start of the season we would all be saying Sakho who? He did the same with Maiga who I personally believe was a better player than he is now given credit for and was played in a BFS route one, lone striker role. We are now again seeing the inept tactics of a footballing dinosaur who has as much attacking intent as a pacifist with a flower. Defended from the 56 minute when we had Everton on the ropes then comes out and blames Valencia. He takes off Amalfetano and keeps on Nolan, brings on Joey O’Brien who’s tackle on Winston Reid was simply laughable for their goal and also brings on that pacey forward CC. He is so one dimensional it is ridiculous and back on topic letting Zarate go was / is just ludicrous. I never want anything negative to happen to WHU but I would love to see QPR dragged up the league by Zarate and when BFS finally gets the push he comes back into the fold or if BFS doesn’t then he turns around and says ” Not coming back whilst he is in charge” I can’t argue with those saying get off his case when they say look where we are, BUT I will say this, lets look where we will finish from where we were due to BFS tactical changes and formations now. I am actually a huge AC fan and think he brings so much more to us than goals (he has to really as he doesn’t score much) he was the one defending when Adrian went up against Arsenal and chased back more than anyone else, so I would have him in that role currently occupied by Downing who for me hasn’t been as great as everyone is saying and is far to soft and gives it away to much and invites pressure on our back 4. I would be interested to see stats on goals or shots against us from who gave the ball away. Sure he would head that list up. Anyway rant over and COYI

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