Liverpool and Stoke City have both been linked to Lazio's Argentinean striker Mauro Zarate. The 25 year old forward joined the Serie A club in 2008 as a loan signing from Qatari club Al-Sadd and made his transfer to the Stadio Olimpico a permanent one at the end of the season. Since then, he has made over 100 league appearances for the Rome club, scoring 25 goals and providing 19 assists.
However, the South American has had a difficult season so far and has made just one start for the club in the 2012/13 Serie A campaign, having failed to dislodge veteran German international Miroslav Klose from the starting line-up.
The Mirror reports the Reds, who are hunting for a striker to ease goal-scoring burdens on Uruguayan Luis Suarez, may be able to persuade Vladimir PetkoviÄ‡'s side into parting with the player for around €10m (approximately £8m). However, Brendan Rodgers will have to move quickly for Spanish side Malaga and Russians Spartak Moscow are also believed to be interested in the striker.
It should help the Anfield club, though, that Zarate would favour a move to Italy and that the club have already negotiated once, albeit unsuccessfully, with Lazio for his services. The two clubs failed to agree a terms for a loan deal last season, after which Zarate was loaned to Inter Milan for the year.
Rodgers, who saw his new club held to a goalless stalemate on his return to the Liberty Stadium to play ex-club Swansea City, has three senior strikers on the club's books. But two of them are presently unavailable - summer signing Fabio Borini is recovering from a fractured foot and is unlikely to return to full fitness before the end of January 2013 and England international Andy Carroll is on loan with newly promoted Premier League club West Ham United.
This leaves only Suarez up front, with youngsters like Raheem Sterling, Dani Pachecho, Suso and Samid Yesil all having to play their parts in the absence of a more balanced squad. The Reds have also been linked with Bundesliga club Schalke 04's German teenager Donis Avdijaj in recent days.
A move for Zarate will have the additional benefit of signing a player who has experience of the Premier League and English football. The Argentinean spent five months on loan with Birmingham City during the 2007/08 season, making 14 appearances and scoring four times in the period. Alex McLeish, the manager of the Blues at the time, was full of praise for Zarate.