Chelsea Transfer News: Peter Crouch on January Rumours, Radja Nainggolan Latest

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2018

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 04:  Peter Crouch of Stoke City celebrates scoring his sides second goal during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Leicester City at Bet365 Stadium on November 4, 2017 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Stoke City forward Peter Crouch has played down suggestions Chelsea were keen to sign him in the January transfer window.

The veteran forward was said to be a target for the Blues, with manager Antonio Conte reportedly keen to strengthen his options up top with a target man. Eventually, the Premier League champions landed Olivier Giroud from Arsenal, with Michy Batshuayi joining Borussia Dortmund on loan.

Crouch discussed the rumours in his column for the Daily Mail, although he said there was never anything concrete in the speculation.

"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," he said. "There was never any strong interest. I heard Conte quite likes me as a player but I was only ever concentrating on Stoke."

Crouch then joked that in Giroud, the Blues went on to sign "the division's second best looking target man."

Newly-signed Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud (L) sits with the team before the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge in London on January 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images

If Chelsea had moved for the Stoke man, they would have secured one of the Premier League's most unique footballers. Crouch has caused defenders many issues down the years with his height and heading ability. 

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

As these figures from BT Sport Score illustrate, it appears Conte was targeting a particular type of striker:

BT Sport Score @btsportscore

Most headed Premier League goals since 2012/13: 🇫🇷 Olivier Giroud (27) 🇧🇪 Christian Benteke (24) 🇧🇪 Romelu Lukaku (21) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Peter Crouch (15) 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Andy Carroll (15) #BTSportScore https://t.co/g7Acevwdm8

Even so, at 37, Crouch's best days are behind him, and it was no surprise links between him and Chelsea cultivated a lot of shock.

The striker remains a key man at the bet365 Stadium, though, and he signed a new contract recently to ensure he'll be at the club up until 2019. He has four goals for the Potters in 20 Premier League appearances, and he will be vital if Stoke are to preserve their top-flight status this term.


Radja Nainggolan Talks Future

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 21: Radja Nainggolan of AS Roma looks on during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and AS Roma at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 21, 2018 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Reported Chelsea target Radja Nainggolan has said he could stay at current club Roma for the rest of his career.

"I am very happy here and I don’t see any reasons why I would want to leave," he told Sky Sport Italia (h/t Coral Barry of Metro). "I am living well and I have everything that I need. I might sign here for life since I have rejected many teams in the past."

As noted by Barry, both the Blues and Manchester United have long been linked with a potential move for the Belgium international.

According to Kristof Terreur of Het Laatste Nieuws, Conte tried to sign the midfielder in his first summer at Stamford Bridge:

Kristof Terreur 📰 @HLNinEngeland

Instead Chelsea signed Ngolo Kanté. Not a bad move either.

Nainggolan has been one of the most effective midfielders in Serie A recently, providing a vibrant presence at the heart of the Roma team. 

He can do it all in the middle of the pitch. In deeper positions, he's adept at winning possession back for his team and bursting forward with intent. Further forward, he also makes astute choices and can rip vicious shots towards goal.

It appears both Chelsea and Nainggolan have moved on since the summer of 2016, with the London club now well stocked with midfield options. Even so, if the Belgian was to change his stance at Roma, you sense Conte would be tempted to make a move for him.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!