Stoke must use extra season to finally find long-term Peter Crouch replacement

Mark Hughes, Manager of Stoke City looks on prior to the Premier League match between Everton and Stoke City at Goodison Park on August 12, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

Peter Crouch may be sticking around for another year, but Stoke cannot rely on him forever.

Peter Crouch of Stoke City celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City at The Hawthorns on August 27, 2017 in West...

Stoke City were boosted by news of Peter Crouch agreeing a new one-year contract extension on Tuesday.

It seems bizarre that, in 2017, Crouch - now 36 years of age - could still be crucial to a Premier League side.

And yet the former England man is Stoke's best forward option from the bench - and perhaps full stop - having seen off the challenges of Joselu and Wilfried Bony, plus, seemingly, Saido Berahino.

Saido Berahino of Stoke City during the Premier League match between Stoke City and Everton at Bet365 Stadium on February 1, 2017 in Stoke on Trent, England.

For that reason, Potters fans must welcome another 12 months of the Premier League's best plan B.

However, while this is a bonus, Stoke must also use the time wisely and seek out a replacement for Crouch, who - contrary to his current form - cannot go on forever.

Stoke have repeatedly struggled to bring in effective striking options, forcing Crouch - and Jon Walters until his summer exit - to prolong their Premier League careers far beyond what was perhaps expected.

Peter Crouch of Stoke City looks on from the bench during the Premier League match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Stoke City at Amex Stadium on November 20, 2017 in Brighton, England.

It would be unfair not to expect Crouch's contributions to dwindle over the remainder of his Stoke career, but his absence would still be keenly felt if Mark Hughes' men do not have someone ready to step into his sizeable shoes come 2019.

The Potters have time, but they must get this right.

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