Stoke City January striker target primed for £8.5 million transfer

Rafa Mujica has been scoring regularly for Arouca in Portugal this season.
Target man... Rafa Mujica has been scoring regularly for Arouca in Portugal this season. -Credit:Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

Raja Mujica, a striker highly coveted by Stoke City earlier this season, is on the verge of completing a big money move to Qatar.

Mujica, aged 25, was Stoke's top striker target in the winter, StokeonTrentLive understands, after he found the scoresheet regularly for Arouca in Portugal. It proved too expensive and difficult to get a deal done in January but then-technical director Ricky Martin, who left the club in February, was hoping it could be revisited in the summer.

He is no longer on Stoke's radar for a number of reasons, not least because 20 goals in the Primeira Liga means he is not a realistic target financially for a Championship club without parachute payments. Qatar Stars League champions Al-Sadd are set to trigger an £8.5 million release clause for his signature.

READ MORE: Stoke City boss explains summer plan for January signing

READ MORE: Emerging Stoke City 'threat' explains why he signed for club

Mujica came trough the ranks at Barcelona and joined Leeds in 2019 only to spend most of his time on their books out on loan, with spells at Extremadura, Villarreal B, Oviedo and Las Palmas, who he then joined on a permanent switch in 2021. He moved to Arouca in 2022 and has 23 goals in all so far this term. Only two players in the division have scored more; Sporting Braga's Simon Banza has 21 league goals and Sporting Lisbon's ex-Coventry forward Viktor Gyokeres has 27.

Stoke will still be in the market for a new striker or two this summer following the release of Tyrese Campbell. Ryan Mmaee joined in 2023 from Hungarian champions Ferencvaros while Niall Ennis arrived late in the January window from Blackburn. Emre Tezgel and Nathan Lowe are highly-rated youth graduates.

There were 24 new signings in all during 2023/24 and, like Mujica, even more that were pursued but didn't get over the line. Stoke brought in Andre Vidigal from Portugal and he went on to score six times in 29 league appearances. Mmaee got three in 24 but overseas signings Bae Junho, Wouter Burger and Million Manhoef have bene popularly received.

What kind of striker do Stoke need? Have your say in the comments section