"There's nothing suspicious!" - David Gold gives update on whereabouts of West Ham star

West Ham United co-chairman David Gold has told fans not to worry about Mauro Zarate.

West Ham United have enjoyed a superb start to the new season, but Saturday's 0-0 draw with Aston Villa was one of the more frustrating afternoons of the campaign.

Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan kept the Hammers at bay for 90 minutes, producing a number of fine saves, including one late on from returning striker Andy Carroll.

The former Newcastle and Liverpool target man made his long-awaited return from injury on Saturday, but fans are still waiting for Mauro Zarate to make a similar comeback.

Zarate, a summer signing from Velez Sarsfield, scored against Crystal Palace earlier this season but hasn't been seen on the pitch since the Hammers beat QPR at Upton Park at the start of October.

Now after over a month out, rumours have been suggesting that there is something more to Zarate's absence, especially considering that he's been in the news lately having switched his international allegiance from Argentina to Chile.

However, West Ham co-chairman David Gold has told Claret & Hugh that there is nothing untoward over Zarate, and that the 27-year-old is simply out injured at the moment.

"Mauro is very much part of the first team squad but there’s no need to take chances on players when so many are fit and available," he said.

"We are in a very strong position at the moment and there is nothing suspicious about this at all. Mauro is a valued player and like many others, really having to challenge for his place in all circumstances," added Gold.

With Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho impressing in the West Ham attack this season, Zarate has a real task on his hands to get into Sam Allardyce's starting line-up - though he may be better in the hole behind the strikers, where Stewart Downing has excelled this season.

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