Peter Crouch has become the latest Stoke City player to publicly reveal that he is prepared to remain at the Bet365 Stadium as the club targets an instant return to the Premier League following relegation in May.
The former England international was among a deluge of high profile names that were expected to depart during the summer after The Potters dropped into the Championship following a decade-long spell in the top flight.
However, the 37-year-old says that he has “unfinished business” and is open to the possibility of helping Stoke to launch a promotion challenge in the forthcoming season.
Crouch, who arrived at the Bet365 Stadium in the summer of 2011 for £12 million from Tottenham Hotspur, has racked up over 50 goals for The Potters in all competitions and told Planet Football that he was happy to add to that tally in The Championship.
“I feel like there is unfinished business for me at Stoke,” the iconic striker explained.
“I’d have no problem playing in the Championship next season and trying to get the club back into the Premier League at the first attempt … hopefully, I am one of those who get the chance to get Stoke back where they belong.”
The news is likely to come as a further boost for new Potters boss Gary Rowett, who has already convinced Joe Allen and Moritz Bauer to sign new long-term deals with the club since he was appointed in late-May.
The former Derby County manager faces the unenviable task of building a squad capable of challenging for automatic promotion and his ability to persuade key players to commit their future had been hugely impressive.
Crouch remains a hugely popular figure among Stoke supporters and he remains a dangerous prospect for opposition defences despite his advancing age.
The 37-year-old’s height and aerial prowess poses a unique challenge for opponents and has proven to be a remarkably effective weapon during a career that has seen him score over 100 top fight goals.
There is little doubt that he would be a considerable threat in the Championship although how central he would be to Rowett’s plans remains unclear.
Stoke have already boosted their forward line by signing Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Benik Afobe on loan whilst the likes of Mame Biram Diouf, Saido Berahino and youngster Tyrese Campbell currently remain on the club’s books.
It is unlikely that Crouch would be considered by many supporters to be a prime candidate for featuring regularly in the starting eleven next season, although that does not reduce his value as a squad player.
His lack of mobility remains a central issue, especially when operating as a lone striker, whilst his height often results in the team naturally looking to be more direct in their play.
However, the former England international remains the perfect ‘Plan B’ for Stoke.
If The Potters find themselves trailing with twenty minutes of a game remaining, then who better to throw into the mix than Crouch? Furthermore, if Rowett identifies that an opposition team struggles to deal with aerial balls, then who better to call upon than Crouch?
The striker is renowned for his aerial ability, but he is equally as adept with the ball at his feet. There are few forwards who are better at holding the ball up and bringing team mates into play than Crouch and he actually proved over the years that he is also hugely talented with his feet.
The 37-year-old certainly still has plenty to offer and his attitude, in terms of being willing to help Stoke secure achieve promotion this season and correct the mistakes of the previous campaign, should be commended and highlights the quality of his character.
Only time will tell what the future may hold, but Stoke would be fools not to take up Crouch’s offer of remaining at the club.