According to various reports, Newcastle are closing in on Charlie Austin and the move could be completed next week. As expected in the silly season of the transfer window, there are conflicting reports, with preferred media partner the Daily Mirror stating the deal is done, while Sky maintain that no fee has been agreed between Newcastle and QPR. Although it does look like there is some progress being made in Newcastle’s pursuit of Austin, which is positive news for the club, who are looking to move quickly after the appointment of new head coach Steve McClaren.
Austin was a breath of fresh air during his debut campaign in the Premier League and at times looked like he was capable of firing a poor QPR side to safety. His goals saw him receive a call up to the England squad and although he is yet to make his first international appearance at the time of writing. It does seem to be a matter of time before we see Austin complete his meteoric rise from non league to international football.
His record during the 2014/15 was really impressive as he finished fourth highest scorer above the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Wayne Rooney and Olivier Giroud. With players like Austin who perform well in their first season in the top flight, there are always concerns about their ability to live up to the standards that they have set themselves, but the striker looks to have the physicality and temperament to even surpass his.
Austin managed to score 18 goals and get five assists during the season. The striker showed himself to be impressive in the air and is a good finisher in the penalty box. Steve McClaren talked about the importance of signing a classic centre forward capable of leading Newcastle into a new era. The club is renowned for their number nines, but they haven’t had what you would call a Newcastle number nine since the departure of Andy Carroll. Charlie Austin would fit the bill if the club manage to secure his signing in the coming weeks.
The current incumbent Papiss Cisse has had varied success since coming to Newcastle, but he is an excellent finisher, who could prove to be the perfect partner for Austin. The main concerns with the 30 year old are that he is often unavailable due to fitness or disciplinary problems and that is why the club are in the market for two new strikers. The Senegalese international could find himself leaving the club as he enters the final year of his contract, but after scoring 11 goals at an impressive rate of one every 104.9 minutes, the club should attempt to keep him to help share the scoring burden next season.
Recent days have signified that big changes are under way at St James’ Park and that their attentions have now turned to player recruitment. There should be a number of new signings before the squad come back for pre season training and Austin could be the first if reports are correct. The striker who is due to turn 26 next month was always going to be a great signing for a club this summer, but it would be a statement of intent if Newcastle complete the deal given their cautious approach in the transfer window in recent seasons.