Peter Crouch has revealed he was contemplating a January move away from Stoke before he made a scoring return to Mark Hughes’ team.
The 35-year-old had started just one Premier League game, back in August, when Hughes named him in his XI to face Liverpool last week and Crouch has since rewarded the Welshman with goals against Chelsea and Watford.
Reports on Thursday suggest Crouch, who is out of contract at the end of the season, could land a new deal with the club, though at 36 next month and on a reported £80,000 a week, any offer would likely be on vastly reduced terms.
Crouch had gone 19 months without scoring in the division before bagging against the Blues and his lack of playing time in the period in-between had left Crouch wondering if, after five-and-a-half years with the Potters, he may have to depart when the window reopened on New Year’s Day.
“Of course I’ve been looking at that,” Crouch said.
“I know that I can still play at this level so if it’s not here it will be with someone else. But hopefully it’s gone well the last few games and hopefully I’ll be here for a bit longer.”
Hughes’ office had seen visits from Crouch, as a man who now has 98 Premier League goals pleaded his case to move up the pecking order.
His argument has been lent weight by Manchester City loanee Wilfried Bony’s poor form and the fact Hughes has been reluctant to regularly choose either Bojan Krkic, Mame Diouf or Jonathan Walters as the spearhead for his attack.
Crouch appears set for a run in the team now and has told Hughes that, even though he turns 36 this month, he has plenty of time remaining as a top-flight player.
“I haven’t played much in the last 18 months, it’s been very frustrating,” added the former England player.
“I’ve always believed in myself, always known I can impact games at this level. Thankfully the manager’s thrown me in for the last three games. Hopefully I’ve proved I can still do it at this level and keep playing. I know I’ve got a few more years left in me yet.
“I think now hopefully I’ve proved to him that certainly I can do the 90 minutes, it’s not a problem. I train every day, I don’t do anything that the rest of the lads don’t do so hopefully I’ve impacted the games and I can have a good run towards the end of the season now.”
The end of the season is when Crouch’s contract at the bet365 Stadium is due to expire and his impression on the team since Christmas has left Hughes fielding questions on whether that will be extended, just a few weeks after a move away looked more likely.
Crouch said: “I’d love to stay but it’s one of those things that’s out of my hands, isn’t it? I’d like to stay but it doesn’t seem to be happening at the minute. I’ll keep playing and see what happens.”