Southampton, Liverpool, Chelsea? Where next for Charlie Austin?
I’m not going to tell you the ‘from bricklayer to Premier League’ story once again, you’ve all heard it to death. Charlie Austin has had a sensational breakthrough season in the top flight, and will be involved in his first ever England game this weekend. His exceptional rise through the leagues has been well documented, and no more so than Damian Meaden’s excellent article on the site very recently.
Not only have we heard it too many times before, but he deserves better than that. He deserves to be recognised for his superb season in the Premier League, and not just for getting there.
Wherever he’s been in his career he’s scored goals. In every division he has played in, he has banged them in every week, and many were certainly skeptical when QPR were promoted last season. Although being the clubs top scorer, a vast amount of people doubted whether the ex-Burnley striker could make the step up and continue his scoring form.
That he did, though. To bag 18 goals in his first ever appearance in the Premier League is something special, and maybe something which has gone under the radar with many people this season. When you look at Harry Kane’s rise – Austin’s hasn’t been too far different.
If Austin is to score on Sunday against Ireland, then his season has been very similar to the Spurs striker. Obviously, with QPR’s relegation, he is very much expected to leave Loftus Road. But where could he go?
He’s proved that he can do it in a side struggling badly at the wrong end of the table, and with some quality service then he could fit quite comfortably into a higher mid-table side. These ‘higher mid-table sides’ of such, have been linked constantly with the now-England international since Rangers’ relegation last month.
Tottenham, Newcastle, Southampton, Liverpool, Everton and even champions Chelsea have been linked with Austin recently and this vast amount of interest is testament to what has been a fantastic season for him.
If he is to make the short journey across West London, then his game time is going to be very limited. A possible replacement for the departing Drogba, Austin is likely to be the third or even fourth choice striker at the Bridge and the ex-Hungerford and Poole man would have gone from being the star of the team, to being a low-profile backup option.
So, a move to the Blues is unlikely, but a move to the North-East could well be on the cards. Following a less than mediocre season for the Magpies, they need a boost and Austin could provide this. He would symbolise a return to the good days in Tyneside and he could certainly be viewed as a typical Newcastle striker. They need to forget the Emmanuel Reviere’s of this world and turn to players like Austin, in an attempt to return to the days of Alan Shearer, for example.
Southampton may want Austin, as they look to improve on that position of the park also. A move closer to home for the striker, he was brought up on the south coast, and made his name in non-league playing for Poole Town. His father owns a construction company in Bournemouth, who Austin once worked for as a bricklayer (as we all know).
Austin partnered up top with Harry Kane could be a future pairing for the national team, but could also be a pairing for Tottenham Hotspur next campaign. Spurs have reportedly shown some interest in the forward, and I can certainly see Austin in the Lilywhites of North London.
Liverpool have a huge summer ahead of them, but a move for the QPR star is unlikely should ex-teammate Danny Ings make the move to Anfield. The blue side of Merseyside could also make an effort to sign Austin, but there is no concrete interest at the moment.
When you have a prolific goalscorer like Austin in the Premier League, he is always going to attract interest. He’s certainly not going to stay with the Hoops in the Championship, and he will not have a struggle trying to find a team to take him back to the big time.
Austin isn’t the type of player to take the ball on the halfway line, and nutmeg four players before chipping the keeper – he’s not that type of striker. He effectively is the new breed of poacher. Whereas the old style poacher was just there in the right place at the right time, Austin is strong, technically good and even possesses a good amount of pace.
But he still is a poacher. He’s always on the move in the penalty box, and it’s as if he just wants that goal more than the defender wants to keep it out.
He does seem to struggle when playing on his own up top though, and Bobby Zamora’s ‘battering ram’ style partnership with Austin this season has been important in all the goals he has put away.
If Austin is playing his trade in the North East or North London, the South Coast or Merseyside, you can guarantee that he will be scoring goals. Wherever he is, he’ll always see that net rustling in front of him. That’s just his thing.