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Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Thursday, 3 April 2008 17:48 UK

I'm happy in Birmingham - Zarate

Mauro Zarate
Zarate has scored three goals in his last two games

On-loan Birmingham City striker Mauro Zarate says he is very happy at the club and would like a permanent move.

The 21-year-old Argentine is on loan until the end of the season from Qatar club Al-Sadd but has made a big impact since he joined Blues in January.

"My first choice would be to stay with Birmingham. I do not want to go back to Qatar," Zarate told BBC WM.

"I just have to wait until June to see but I really want to stay here. I want to make an impact in England."

Zarate scored two goals in Birmingham's important win over Manchester City and he has become a favourite with the home crowd.

And he says playing in front of them is proving a bit special.

"I was very happy against Manchester City. When the manager took me off and the fans were singing my name I was very, very happy with that."

Alex McLeish and Mauro Zarate
McLeish doubts Birmingham can afford Zarate (Getty Images)

"My target when I came here was to have an impact in England and I'm doing that.

"I'm happy in Birmingham."

Blues boss Alex McLeish would like to make Zarate's move permanent but is not sure the club could afford the 10m asking price that has been reported.

He said: "If the chairman [David Gold] or David Sullivan decided to spend that kind of money we would be looking for the finished article.

"We certainly won't be spending that in the foreseeable future, but time will tell. He's a great kid to have around."

Whether Zarate ends up staying or not, McLeish is sure more players of the Argentine's quality need to be brought to St Andrews.


"I've got a dossier on a few players in the world who would enhance our team. If we can target players like Zarate then we can take the club forward and won't be battling relegation each year."

Zarate's agent Christian Otero said: "Al-Sadd want more than they paid for Mauro but another loan deal might be possible.

"We haven't set any date for any talks yet but I hope we can reach an agreement and speak soon.

"Mauro has captured the attention of other clubs as people can see he will be a top, top player. His performance against Manchester City last weekend is the normal sort of level for him."

Birmingham City's trip to Wigan on Saturday is live on BBC WM 95.6FM

see also
Zarate can be the key - Queudrue
01 Apr 08 |  Birmingham City
Birmingham 3-1 Man City
29 Mar 08 |  Premier League
Blues land Argentine star on loan
21 Jan 08 |  Birmingham City

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