Stoke City have confirmed that veteran striker Peter Crouch has signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until 2018. The 35-year-old has found himself leading the line for The Potters in recent weeks and has been rewarded for finding the net against Liverpool and Chelsea before the turn of the year with a new deal.
Prior to that, the former England international had failed to score a goal in the Premier League for almost eighteen months having fallen down the pecking order behind the likes of Wilfried Bony, Mame Biram Diouf and Jonathan Walters. However, he has been reinstated to the starting line-up in recent weeks and is set to spearhead Stoke’s attack when they travel to Sunderland this weekend.
Crouch told the Staffordshire Sentinel “I come in every day with a smile on my face and long may that continue. Obviously I didn’t want to go anywhere, I just wanted to play. I know that I can play and impact games at this level for a number of years yet”.
Stoke chairman Peter Coates has described the striker as “a great ambassador for the football club”.
Crouch has made 186 appearance for The Potters since signing for £10,000,000 from Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2011. He has scored 49 goals during the following five-and-a-half years.
Meanwhile, L’Equipe are reporting that Stoke City are leading a host of English clubs in the race to sign midfielder Guessouma Fofana.
The 24-year-old has been an impressive performer for Amiens in the French second division this season and has caught the eye of a number of clubs across the channel. The central midfielder, who can also play as a central defender or fullback, is being chased by Aston Villa and Norwich but it is Stoke that are the favourites to secure his signature.
Amiens have reportedly rejected Mark Hughes’ initial offer, but reports from France suggest that The Potters will finalise a deal before the end of the January transfer window.
Elsewhere, the Staffordshire Sentinel have conveyed reports from France suggesting that Wilfried Bony is being targeted by former Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Pellegrini, who is currently in charge of Chinese Super League side Hebei China Fortune, is set to offer the Ivorian an £11,000,000 per year contract to join him in the Far East as he looks to secure a big-name signing prior to the start of the campaign.
Bony has a clause in his loan-deal that would allow Manchester City to cut short his stay with Stoke City and sell him to any side in China making a move distinct possibility. The striker has fallen down the pecking order at the Bet365 Stadium having scored just two goals so far this season and has been told in no uncertain terms that he has no long-term future at his parent club. With that in mind, a move into the money-mad world of Chinese football may interest Bony who was actually signed by Manchester City when Pellegrini was in charge.
Mark Hughes is actively seeking a striker in the January transfer window, with Saido Berahino at the top of his wish list, and the Welshman is unlikely to lose any sleep should Bony choose to leave.
Stoke forward Bojan Krkic has moved one step closer to the exit door after being substituted at half-time in the FA Cup defeat to Wolves.
The Barcelona academy graduate has made it known in recent weeks that he is unhappy with a lack of playing time this season and his future with The Potters was thrown into to further doubt after he was dragged off after just 45 minutes on Saturday. The Spaniard had been given a rare start by Mark Hughes but produced an ineffective performance against Wolves and was forced to suffer the humiliation of a half-time substitution.
Bojan remains a fan favourite amongst the Stoke City supporters but the Staffordshire Sentinel are reporting that the 26-year-old could now leave before the end of the transfer window. Middlesbrough and West Ham United have both been linked with the forward whilst a host of Spanish teams led by Valencia have made enquires.
Finally, reports in Spain are suggesting that Real Betis are interested in signing Stoke City defender Marc Muniesa.
Betis are keen to secure the services of the former Barcelona player but are struggling to raise the money to fund a permanent transfer, with a loan deal their preferred option. However, Mark Hughes is unwilling to sanction any temporary transfer due to a lack of defensive cover with only six first team defenders currently available for selection.
Muniesa has struggled to hold down a place in the Stoke City team since his arrival in North Staffordshire two years ago and has been side-lined for long spells with various muscular injuries. A move back to Spain and the promise of regular football could well tempt the 24-year-old to move away from the BEt365 Stadium, although Real Betis would need to decipher a way of financing any potential deal.
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