Charlie Austin is a wanted man. Newcastle are thought to be the most smitten with the relegated QPR striker, but the list of suitors for the Englishman’s signature reportedly stretches all the way up to the top of the league, with Chelsea believed to be fans.
The Magpies are so sweet on the recent England call up that they’ve gone as far as reserving their number 9 shirt for the former non-league goal getter.
A minor problem in such a plan, aside from the sheer lunacy of believing that a squad number holds weight in transfer negotiations, is that currently Papiss Cisse wears it at St James’ Park.
Shrewd as ever, though, the 11/2 relegation candidates have developed a contingency plan to free up the number and dangle it like a golden carrot in front of Austin. They’ve put Cisse up for sale.
Considering the Senegalese man was Newcastle’s top scorer last season, notching 11 goals in just 11 starts, such a move may smack of stupidity in some parts of the north east, but it may not be such a bad idea after all.
If Mike Ashley and co can get £10m for the striker, who will be 31 next birthday, and land Austin for £12m then there won’t be many reasons to grumble for Newcastle fans.
Austin scored 18 goals for the Hoops last season and wasn’t far off Cisse in terms of shot accuracy and goal conversion rates, despite playing far more games than the former Freiburg star.
What made Cisse’s campaign impressive was its deadliness, but his 42.2 percent shot accuracy didn’t better the 40 percent Austin managed by all that much.
The Englishman’s 13.8 goal conversion rate may be some way off Cisse’s 24.4 figure, but the latter’s record is bloated by his sparse game time. In fact, Austin had a better conversion rate than Robin van Persie, Wilfried Bony and Romelu Lukaku, to name just three of the league’s more revered front men.
Considering the QPR pawn is only 25-years-old too, Newcastle would be able to invest in a striker for the future at just a net cost of £2m, something not many Premier League clubs are able to boast of these days.
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