It looks like the Charlie Austin transfer saga will go on for a while longer after the recent England call-up headed for Italy with QPR, who’ll take on the likes of Monaco and Shakhtar Donetsk in pre-season.
No doubt the 26-year-old would have preferred his future to be sorted by now, with a plethora of Premier League clubs, including champions Chelsea, top-four chasing Tottenham, Newcastle, Leicester, West Ham, Bournemouth and Aston Villa, said to be in the hunt for his signature.
Austin would be mad to sign for the first couple mentioned on that list, with Diego Costa and Harry Kane, two of the three strikers who bagged more than the Berkshire native in the top flight last term, blocking his route to first-team football.
Newcastle are thought to be leading the race for Austin’s paw print, but even with the fresh start of Steve McClaren taking over at St James’ Park, heading to the north east would rank as a huge risk.
The Geordies have had more false dawns than a Vicar of Dibley convention, and McClaren has kept his options open by running the rule over Austin’s fellow centre-forwards Bas Dost and Diego Rolan, of Wolfsburg and Bordeaux.
The longer the summer goes on, the more Villa seems a viable option for the former Burnley hotshot, with Christian Benteke extremely likely to leave, probably for Liverpool, by early September.
Villans boss Tim Sherwood cut his coaching teeth at Spurs under Harry Redknapp, the man who sanctioned Austin’s move from Turf Moor to Loftus Road two summers ago, and snapped up current Super Hoops gaffer Chris Ramsey from the White Hart Lane outfit for his inner sanctum 12 months ago.
The striker would walk into Villa’s first team when Benteke departs, which couldn’t be said with confidence at West Ham, and the risk of another relegation at either Leicester or Bournemouth ought to be too great.
If Austin has serious ambitions of gatecrashing Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions squad permanently, he should take the safe option and become Sherwood’s new number nine.
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