Liverpool must pay big money if they are serious about signing Charlie Austin this summer after Queens Park Rangers director of football Les Ferdinand said the club would not cash-in on their leading goalscorer on the cheap despite their relegation from the Premier League.
The 25-year-old striker notched a mightily impressive 17 goals in his debut season in England's top-flight, despite the collective struggles that QPR have endured during 2014/15.
Following confirmation of the west London club's drop down to the Championship next term Chris Ramsey's side are at risk of being picked apart by rival suitors.
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However, Ferdinand warned any teams interested in acquiring Austin's signature that they'll have to pay a significant fee that reflects his standing among the most prolific marksman in the elite division this term.
The free-scoring frontman has just over 12 months remaining on his current deal at Loftus Road, and QPR will proceed with plans to offer him renewed terms, despite the fact they'll be playing in the second tier next year.
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"This club isn't going to be a bargain bucket. Charlie has had a fantastic year in terms of scoring in the Premier League with 17 in his debut season," Ferdinand was quoted saying by the London Evening Standard.
"He is fourth in the list of top scorers and that is in a team which has been relegated. That is a phenomenal strike rate.
"We can gloss over it as much as we want, but people are going to court him, people are going to come after him.
"Can we keep him? We are going to sit down with Charlie and talk to him. But it will come down to him and his agent to decide what's best for Charlie Austin.
"But I'm not even going to talk about what figure we will ask for from other clubs because we are going to try and keep him."
Brendan Rodgers is not the only alleged admirer of the former Burnley and Swindon Town star, with Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, Southampton and Bournemouth all reportedly keeping tabs on QPR's prized player.
That widespread interest could play into the Rs hands as they look to kick-start a summer transfer window auction before eventually selling to the highest bidder, presumably at an over-inflated price.
It's not yet clear how much money Liverpool would actually be willing to pay, but given their current lack of firepower at Anfield they'd be silly to turn their back on Austin completely.
Burnley striker Danny Ings is another player that's been mooted as a potential option for the Merseyside outfit, but don't bet against them moving for both the England U21 international and the slightly older QPR ace at the end of the season.
Liverpool fans: Do you think Charlie Austin would be a good signing? How much do you think Brendan Rodgers should be willing to pay? Have your say in the comment box below...