Andy Carroll crocked so Chelsea switch attention to Peter Crouch

Chelsea were last night linked with a shock move for veteran Stoke City striker Peter Crouch after an ankle injury to Andy Carroll ruled out a January switch to Stamford Bridge for the West Ham target man.

Chelsea have been seeking a back-up to Alvaro Morata with current understudy Michy Batshuayi failing to impress manager Antonio Conte.

Crouch, 37 this month, signed a one-year contract extension with the struggling Potters in November and has recently forced his way back into the first team side.

It emerged yesterday England striker Carroll has an ankle injury and may face a lengthy absence from the game.

Hammers boss David Moyes is likely to address the matter in his media conference today. Moyes was at Chelsea’s FA Cup replay with Norwich on Wednesday night, apparently watching Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi.

Chelsea have refuted claims they may have breached transfer regulations when signing young players from overseas.

The Guardian reported yesterday that world governing FIFA had pinpointed 25 cases after carrying out an investigation into the club’s recruitment of players aged under 18.

A club spokesman said: “Chelsea FC complies with all FIFA statutes and regulations when recruiting players.”

Andy Carroll
Andy Carroll

Meanwhile, Watford boss Marco Silva insists prized assets Richarlison and Abdoulaye Doucoure will not be sold this month.

Brazilian forward Richarlison has been linked with both Arsenal and Chelsea, while French midfielder Doucoure has impressed too.

Silva told a press conference yesterday: “What I can tell you is feedback I have from our board that of the most important players nobody will be leaving this month.

“With all the injuries it doesn’t make sense if you sell some players. I hope to improve our roster - not sell our most important players.”

On the prospect of reinforcements this month, Silva was coy.

He added: “It’s not an easy market but as a club we are working to do what we can.

“It’s not an easy market as some (teams) have big power - others not so much.

“It’s important to understand the market and do the best we can. The market is still open, open until January 31.”

The Hornets, 10th in the Premier League, go to Leicester tomorrow with midfielder Tom Cleverley (hamstring) a doubt.

Meanwhile, Leicester manager Claude Puel insists there has been no progress on transfers at the club - in or out.

The 2015/16 Premier League champions have been linked with several players this month. The latest is Marseille full-back Bouna Sarr with reports in France stating Leicester have had two bids for the defender rejected.

Meanwhile speculation persists that Foxes striker Islam Slimani is a target for Turkish club Besiktas.

Puel is looking to add to his squad but said: “We are not close at the moment to sign any player. I think we work normally in this window.

“It is important to keep our focus about our transfer window. If we cannot find a good player with good attributes, who can strengthen the squad, I think it is important to keep this squad, because they have a fantastic attitude.

“If we can improve the squad we will sign a player but we are not close. For Slimani, I cannot give all the details about an individual player.

“I repeat what I have said all along, we have a lot of strikers and we need to make a good balance in the team and give some game time for all the players.


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