Over the Summer Transfer Window, most Premier League clubs were linked with a move for Charlie Austin.
From newly promoted Bournemouth to Premier League high-fliers Southampton, everyone wanted a piece of the English talisman. In fact, by the end of the transfer window on September 1, there were 14 top-flight clubs that had registered a keen interest in the player. So why didn’t he move?
Austin’s fitness has been a cause for concern over the last few seasons, wherever he has plied his trade. Shoulder, ankle, knee and ligament injuries are among just some of the fitness problems that the striker has endured.
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David Sullivan, the West Ham co-chairman, went on to highlight these problems after his London club had been linked with an audacious swoop for the 26-year-old, claiming Austin was not a risk worth taking as he had ‘no ligaments in his knee!’
Sullivan apologised eventually, saying ‘he failed a medical at Hull two years ago. Clearly an old injury left a severe doubt with the Hull medical team about the longevity of his career. I fully accept he is playing well and the old injury is not impacting upon him at this moment in time. He is a player I greatly admire.”
Whilst Sullivan’s comments may have been taken too far (according to himself), his remarks only underline people’s concerns about Austin’s injury record.
QPR, relegated from the Premier League this summer, demanded £15 million pounds for their star player who has just a year left on his modest contract. Any deal for the player would have seen the London club make a rather grand profit on the player whom they signed for a mere £3.26 million pounds in August 2013.
The £15 million asking price may have put off mid-table Premier League suitors such as Aston Villa and Newcastle United, the latter having a £12 million bid rejected for the player. However, for a player that has scored 220 goals in his 355-game career, many clubs would have happily paid the asking price for Austin.
Manchester United were linked with a late swoop on Deadline Day for the player and it was claimed that they had paid £15 million plus add-ons yet no move materialised with the Reds, instead opting to splash out the cash on Anthony Martial of AS Monaco. The missed opportunity of Austin could prove to be costly, with Rooney far from his best, James Wilson seemingly nearing a loan move to Derby, Chicharito and RVP gone and Martial inexperienced and unproven.
United needed a quality goalscorer who is proven in England and Austin would have been a perfect move. For a club of United's stature, £15 million seems like the kind of money Ed Woodward carries in his wallet in cash. United's loss could be Austin's gain.
The player's contract expires next summer and if he leaves on a free transfer, he'll have a lot of top clubs biting at his heels, begging for his physical prowess and his goal-scoring glory.
He has dealt with the transfer speculation over his future very professionally and has continued to give 100% to the QPR promotion cause. Whatever happens, his future club will have managed to bring in a fantastic player at his prime, who scored goals for fun and gives the very best defenders nightmares.
Would you like Austin at your club? Is he able to overcome injury fears and cement his place at the top of the list of ex non-league players who have made it big and risen to the physical and mental challenges of arguably the biggest and the best league in world football? Leave your thoughts below