Peter Crouch has opened up on reported interest in his services from Chelsea during the January transfer window.
As Blues head coach Antonio Conte looked to bolster his squad with the arrival a new centre forward – more specifically of the target man variety, the former Liverpool striker emerged as a surprise target for the Italian tactician.
It wasn’t just Crouch who was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge last month. Salomon Rondon, Aahley Barnes, Andy Carroll and Edin Dzeko were all understood to be targets for Conte – with some evoking a jovial response from some supporters.
In the end the veteran striker stayed put at the Bet 365 stadium while the reigning Premier League champions completed the signing of Olivier Giroud from London rivals Arsenal on deadline day earlier in the week which has allowed Crouch to reveal if a move to the Blues was ever on the cards.
“So there I was, sat at home a couple of weeks ago, when my phone started to beep and I heard I was trending on Twitter,” he wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.
“I didn’t expect to see my name linked with Chelsea but that was the situation. It was all speculation, I suppose. Of course it was nice to get linked with a club of that stature — particularly as they were the club I used to watch when I was a kid — but I didn’t think much more about it.
“There was never any strong interest. I heard Antonio Conte quite likes me as a player but I was only ever concentrating on Stoke. I didn’t expect anything to happen and, as it turns out, Chelsea have gone on to make a great signing.
“I’ve always admired Olivier Giroud. He is France’s No 9, he’s been to the World Cup and the Euros and worn that shirt with distinction. He’s a top striker and maybe he didn’t get as many chances as he deserved at Arsenal.
“Conte likes playing with big target men and you only have to think about how he used Graziano Pelle when he was in charge of Italy. Given Giroud’s ability and how Conte wants to play, he will be perfect for Chelsea.
“He was one of the best signings of the window. He is good technically, strong and great in the air. I’d go as far as to say they got themselves the division’s second best looking target man!”