It was a red flag that a player of Mauro Zárate's ability went into semi-retirement at such a young age during his short-lived loan spell with Al-Sadd.
Rafael Sóbis took a leaf out of Zárate's book when the Brazilian signed with Al Jazeera a year later.
In one of the most left-field Premier League transfers ever, then-Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish managed to sign Zárate on loan.
Who would have thought that technically superb footballers like Daniël de Ridder, Olivier Kapo and Zárate would all find themselves at Birmingham.
De Ridder was there because his career had been derailed. Kapo wanted to be a big fish in a small pond after an unpleasant experience with Juventus.
To this day, I still have no idea why Zárate's handlers chose Birmingham. Either way, it led to him donning a Lazio shirt, where his performances ranged from world-class to walking liability.
When you think about it, the majority of his best performances came during his loan to the Italian club, which was essentially an audition for a full-time gig. Once he signed on the dotted line for a permanent deal, he couldn't live up to expectations nor did he justify being the highest paid player on the team.
He was sent out loan to Inter Milan, where he tanked.
Reasons For Being a Potential Bargain
Lazio manager Vladimir Petković doesn't see the point of having an overpaid benchwarmer in Zárate. The Argentine's playmaking ability isn't on the level of Hernanes and the 25-year-old isn't as prolific as Miroslav Klose.
Zárate doesn't track back like Alvaro González nor is the former Birmingham player effective out wide.
Estimated Transfer Fee