Former Internazionale, Fiorentina and Lazio forward Mauro Zarate was the only major addition made by Arabian Gulf League clubs on a deathly-quiet transfer deadline day.
Zarate, 30, arrived on Monday at Al Nasr on a season’s loan after he failed to make any appearances for the Premier League’s Watford in the early months of 2017/18. His procurement was forced on the Blue Wave by Sunday’s unfortunate news their star striker Wanderley had damaged knee ligaments during the weekend’s electric 4-2 win at champions Al Jazira and he faces at least two months out of action.
“I’m happy to join Al Nasr and I cannot wait to give all my best to this club,” said the ex-Argentine Under-20 international.
In a continuation of the new frugal and circumspect approach to the market applied this summer, the other key move saw Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club draft €17 million (Dh70m) record buy Moussa Sow back into their four-player foreign quota at the expense of Argentine playmaker Tomas De Vincenti. The merged outfit did not sign a single player in this market, an aborted transfer for Jeonnam Dragons midfielder Kim Young-wook meaning their Asian slot remains vacant.
رسالة زاراتي إلى جماهير العميد 💙💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/PJ3381nltT
— AL NASR FC (@ALNasrSC) October 2, 2017
Al Ain re-signed veteran midfielder Ibrahim Diaky, 35, on terms until the end of this campaign. Al Dhafra also finalised temporary deals from Jazira for young defenders Mohamed Al Hammadi and Saeed Al Rowahi.
For Nasr, they will hope their latest Argentine recruit enjoys a return to form.
The Blue Wave represent the 10th club of a professional career which has rarely lived up to the expectations earned when he shared the top-scorer award in the 2006 Argentine Apertura aged 19 at Velez Sarsfield, plus won the 2007 FIFA World Youth Championship alongside future superstar Sergio Aguero.
Zarate joined current parent club Watford on a two-and-a-half-year contract in January.
But he has not added to three goalless appearances since damaging his knee a month later against ex-employers West Ham United.
Brazilian powerhouse Wanderley had scored three goals in four matches this term, prior to his sidelining.