Zarate departs St Andrews
Argentine to consider options
By Graeme Bailey. Last Updated: May 14, 2008 3:15pm
McLeish sorry to see Zarate leave
Mauro Zarate has left Birmingham City, but he could very well be heading back to England soon.
Skysports.com understands up to half-a-dozen Premier League clubs have already made contact with the player's representatives about sealing a deal.
Zarate, 21, made a huge impact during his five-month spell in England - grabbing four goals and becoming a firm fans' favourite at St Andrews.
Now the battle is on to land Zarate, who has returned to his parent club in Qatar, Al-Sadd.
Zarate is likely to return to Europe on loan with a view to a permanent deal - with Al-Sadd wanting around £15million for his services.
There is also interest from France, Italy and Spain so it is not certain he will be back in the Premier League.
But Blues boss Alex McLeish is certain that any number of English clubs will be getting a great player should they land Zarate.
"Mauro's going to be an attractive proposition to Premier League clubs, in fact I know he is," McLeish told the Birmingham Mail.
"I would like to thank him for his spell here, and he made an impact, which was never going to be easy.
"It was a little bit of a risk bringing him in from a league where you can get away with things, be lazy and still look like a world-class star, coming into the hurly-burly of the Premier League.
"So I applaud his spirit, his heart and he will be a good asset to one of the big clubs, if not here then abroad.
"I said, at times, if he went into a team a little bit technically more proficient than us - and I meant that with no disrespect to our boys - he would be even better.
"He's a real talent and it's just a shame that our situation counted against us.
"I know he's enjoyed being here and living in Birmingham. Now we have to move on."
Meanwhile, McLeish also confirmed that Rafael Schmitz has returned to Lille after a season-long spell at St Andrews.
"With regard to Rafael, I have to say he's one of the best professionals I have ever worked with," said McLeish.
"I thank him for his time here and wish him all the best."