The ‘exciting’ Charlie Austin chase took up another weekend of newspaper headlines.

Can Newcastle get him over the line?

Will Mike Ashley pay what it takes?

Is Lee Charnley’s still waiting to get Charlie Austin’s phone number from Joe Kinnear?

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I’m sure most of us have long accepted that the answer to the first two questions is ‘No’ and the answer to the third is ‘more than likely’.

A round-up of the Charlie Austin newspaper claims over the weekend featured claims that:

Newcastle won’t pay more than £10m

Southampton have already bid £10m as their starting point

West Ham are now in ‘pole position’ and some bookies stopped taking bets on that destination at one point

QPR won’t take less than £15m

joe kinnear

Sifting through the nonsense for the truth is a bit like prospecting for gold, you have to look a long time before you find anything of value.

What I do believe though is that QPR will bank at least £15m and there is no chance of Newcastle buying him.

Once there is any kind of public ‘auction’ then you know Newcastle are knackered.

Last season, the Remy Cabella saga dragged on and on with the Montpellier owner making regular public comments that for the player’s sake he didn’t want him to go to Newcastle, whilst at the same time trying to attract other clubs to at least match United’s offer or preferably pay more.

There was zero interest from other clubs and having seen Remy Cabella over the course of a season we have sadly seen why. He might adapt eventually to just about cope with the Premier League but he’s not very good is he?

Whilst there was no long drawn out public chase for Siem de Jong we have also seen with him why Newcastle didn’t have a battle on their hands to land him.

A very productive player in the weak Dutch league but the reality is that he has reached the age of 26 and has only 4 minutes of competitive football for his country, as well as the reality that last season’s injury blighted season was simply a continuation of his final one at Ajax. Other clubs didn’t see him as a viable option to go for.

We all want to believe that this summer will be different in the transfer market but signing Charlie Austin is surely the stuff of fairytales. We all have to accept that for any chance of it happening, it would have seen an instant deal after the end of the season with Mike Ashley putting his money where his mouth (final day of the season speech) was.

Predictably it didn’t happen and the deal won’t happen.

Just look at those clubs we are supposedly competing with, both for Charlie Austin and league placings.

Last season Newcastle were strongly linked with Valencia, Sakho and Kouyate – they all ended up at West Ham.

The same with Southampton, Newcastle were regularly reported to be interested in Long, Mane, Pelle and Wanyama, yet all went to the Saints.

Whilst Swansea haven’t been mentioned (yet) as ‘serious’ Charlie Austin contenders, I would still sadly rate them as having a better chance of landing the QPR forward than Newcastle have. Players such as Bony, Ayew and Gomis have all been seen as on the brink of moving to St James Park but Swansea being the club willing to pay the money.

All three of these clubs finished above Newcastle last season, all three have had a much bigger spend on players than United in recent seasons, all three are prepared to pay the wages and transfer fee to get a player ‘over the line’.

joe kinnear

Some Newcastle fans still cling to the hope that everybody else is wrong and Mike Ashley’s way will somehow be proved right.

It won’t.

Mike Ashley has to start and let Newcastle compete on everybody else’s terms.

He won’t.

Charlie Austin won’t be in need of applying for a Geordie passport any time soon.

Where does this leave Newcastle?

Only 9 days until pre season and 18 days before the first friendly, having been turned down even by a number of coaching candidates and the only transfer activity seeing more players out of the door.

The sad (and also the very small piece of hope) thing is that Mike Ashley could instantly change this whole destructive strategy at the drop of a hat and ironically, it would almost certainly see him making even more money in the longer term.