''I feel like there is unfinished business for me at Stoke...I still have a year left on my contract and while I don't know what is going to happen in the next few weeks, 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.''
These are the monumental words from Peter Crouch, one of the last remnants of England's 'golden generation', speaking to planetfootball.
Crouchie's words give the impression that the big man will remain part of the Stoke set-up for the 2018-19 season, the Potters first in the Championship for over a decade. The initial fear for Stoke fans was that relegation would result in a rapid exodus. I envisaged Shaqiri literally packing his suitcases on the side of the pitch as the final whistle blew on Stoke's Premier League campaign.
But those fears appear to have been misplaced. Ramadan Sobhi has been to date the only player to leave the bet365, swapping Stoke for Huddersfield. It does still appear likely that both Xherdan Shaqiri and Badou N'Diaye will also be leaving the Potters pretty sharpish.
However, Stoke have done very well to keep some players that could be key to a promotion push. Captain Ryan Shawcross was quick to pledge his allegiance to the Red and White, as was Mortiz Bauer. The biggest boost of all was midfield dynamo Joe Allen, signing a new four year contract.
With this in mind, Peter Crouch's apparent decision to give Stoke and the Championship another whirl is the right one. It's the right decision for him and it's the right decision for the club. Here's why.
From Crouchie's point of view, due to the increased number of matches in the Championship and the lower standard, Crouch is likely to get more game time and more goals. Secondly, Stoke already understand Crouch's style of play, if anyone is going to get the best out of Crouch, it is going to be the team he's been part of for the best part of a decade. At 37, Crouch can't risk going to a Premier League side which doesn't suit his style of play, he only has one or two years left in him.
The biggest plus for Crouchie should be the chance to end his career on a real high, a last hurrah. Stoke are definitely one of the favourites to gain promotion, purely due to the pedigree of their side and new manager Gary Rowett.
A season in which Crouch scores a heap of goals and gets Stoke promoted would go down as one of his best. Many an older striker has fired a side to promotion, Kevin Philips and Bobby Zamora both scored winning goals in Championship play-off finals after dropping down from the Premier League, there's no reason why Crouch can't do the same.
From Stoke's point of view, Crouch is an obvious attacking weapon. His ability to hold up play and win headers is second to none, he has a knack of finding space in the box and scoring those poachers' goals. No matter what type of football Stoke and Rowett play next season, Crouch will come in handy, whether it be from the bench or starting.
Finally, as Crouch said in the interview he's got unfinished business. His signing for Stoke on deadline day 2011 was a historic day for the club, since then he has become Stoke's Premier League top scorer and will go down as one of their all time greats. This said, it would not be fitting for a legend of the club, like Crouch is, to leave Stoke on such a low, especially when a great season in the Championship could be just around the corner.