Southampton and Crystal Palace keen on Charlie Austin capture
Both Southampton, 6/1 with Coral for a top 10 Premier League finish, and Crystal Palace are said to be circling Loftus Road in the hopes of poaching prolific striker Charlie Austin.
The QPR frontman has caught the eye by scoring 15 league goals in 25 appearances this campaign, and could yet fire the relegation-threatened Hoops to safety.
Should QPR’s calamities continue and see the west London club relegated, however, the Saints and Eagles are supposedly set to swoop.
As one of their prize assets and top performers, QPR could soften any Premier League exit by cashing in on the 25-year-old, despite reports they are preparing to offer Austin a new contract.
The former Burnley and Swindon Town star has made a seamless transition from the Championship, where he grabbed 17 in 31 outings to help the Hoops gain promotion.
England coach Roy Hodgson has been spotted in the stands watching QPR, increasing speculation that the uncapped forward could earn a Three Lions call-up.
Austin’s journey from bricklayer and non-league footballer to the glitz and glamour of the Premier League is quite a story. So, while his stock is high the striker may feel it is time to move on.
Southampton coach Ronald Koeman is reportedly ready to recruit a new leading man after Graziano Pelle’s struggles in the second half of the season, and consistent attacker Austin would certainly fit the bill.
Alan Pardew, meanwhile, has placed an emphasis on attack since taking over the Eagles’ reins, and seems set to bolster his options up top in summer. Austin would be a fantastic catch for the Selhurst Park side, but they may have to wait in line to sign the sharpshooter if Southampton secure Champions League football.
While an auction for Austin may prove too tempting for QPR (3/1 to finish bottom) to resist, if the Hoops manage to beat the drop, the poacher may prove more difficult to prise from Loftus Road. The Londoners would surely be loath to lose their most promising player just a season after allowing Loic Remy to depart permanently.
QPR’s director of football and former Tottenham frontman Les Ferdinand recently stated: “We will be trying our best come the end of the season to make sure Charlie signs up and stays. We will be doing our best to make sure we give him the opportunity to stay and play in the Premier League.”