Stoke City ignite interest in cash-strapped Malaga’s Paraguay striker

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Mark Hughes has targeted a move for former charge Roque Santa Cruz should he either Peter Crouch or Kenwyne Jones leave the Britannia Stadium in the final week of the transfer window.

Crouch has been linked with a move to former club QPR which would see him link up with Harry Redknapp at a fourth different club.

Meanwhile, Jones is facing the prospect of being frozen out by the Potters after refusing to play against Liverpool in a bid to force through a move to Everton, which could leave Stoke short of striking options approaching the end of the transfer window.

But Hughes, who has already added Swedish striker John Guidetti to his ranks, is planning against being caught out by plotting a sensational reunion with the man he took to both Blackburn and Manchester City.

Stoke, who are 6/1 with Ladbrokes to be relegated to the Championship, are just four points off the bottom of the league but an addition of the quality of Santa Cruz would be a huge lift to a squad who have just one win in their last six league encounters.

The Paraguay international found the net 23 times in 57 appearances for Blackburn and while his spell at Manchester City did not work out he has continued to score goals in La Liga, first with Real Betis and now Malaga.

And with Los Boquerones struggling with their much publicised financial issues, Stoke could take advantage with a cash bid for the man Hughes brought to English football from Bayern Munich back in 2007.

If the Staffordshire-based club are successful in landing the Paraguayan, who has scored 28 international goals, then their odds on staying in England’s top flight will only shorten further from 1/8, especially if Guidetti and Santa Cruz fire in tandem.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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