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Benfica star is Baggies target

Sport | Published:

Albion have launched a bid to sign Portuguese international striker Ariza Makukula on loan from Benfica.

The Baggies want to take the 27-year-old from the Stadium of Light for the rest of the season with a view to a permanent summer transfer.

The clubs are locked in talks over a loan fee and wages with the 6ft 3ins centre-forward keen to move to the Premier League.

Other clubs, including Turkish outfit Galatasary, have expressed an interest in the Congo-born forward but Albion have stolen a march on their potential rivals by making the first formal offer.

The player favours a move to England and Benfica are open to the suggestion of an initial loan deal after Makukula drifted down the pecking order at the Lisbon giants.

Makukula was born in Kinshasa to a Portuguese mother and Congolese father.

His early career included spells with Vitoria Guimaraes, CD Salamanca and CD Laganes before he moves to France in 2002 for a two-year spell with FC Nantes.

He scored just once in 18 games for the French club but eight goals in 18 appearances in a loan spell with Valladolid in Spain earned him a permanent move to another La Liga side, Sevilla.

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Again he struggled to make an impression but he returned to Portugal with a loan move to Maritimo last season.

He hit 10 goals in just 13 games to earn an international call-up for Portugal and a £3m move to Benfica.

But he has fallen out of favour at Benfica.

Paris St Germain claimed at the weekend they had turned down an approach from Albion to take French striker Peguy Luyindula on loan, although the Baggies have always played down their interest in the player.

And another French striker, Aruna Dindane of Lens, remains on Albion's shortlist although Mowbray would have to be convinced of the player's fitness after a serious knee injury.

Mowbray said: "Discussions move on but they're not as simple as one phone call."

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