Charlie Austin – The gift that keeps on giving
Despite not even moving, Charlie Austin must have generated more column inches than any other player in this summer’s Premier League transfer window.
Ironically, the closing of the window at 6pm on Tuesday has made zero difference, with various section of the media (including the Chronicle) instantly claiming that Newcastle and/or other clubs will be signing him in a ‘cut-price’ deal in January.
The Charlie Austin press coverage was farcical throughout the window, with particular highlights being the embarrassing claims by the Daily Mirror that a move to Newcastle was already a ‘done deal’.
Whilst on at least three separate occasions and with three different clubs, bookies generated loads of free publicity by announcing that they had stopped taking bets on the QPR striker joining a particular club, supposedly because of the amount of money wagered.
Throughout the fiasco I don’t think Charlie Austin has done that much wrong, certainly not in public, unlike that other English goalscorer, Saido Berahino.
As the transfer window has crawled to its eventual conclusion, there has been an increasing perception that QPR are going to be the biggest losers in all of this, because they are perceived to have priced the player too high and lost out on selling him.
I have to say that I’m not too sure that QPR have lost out and I have a feeling that the club’s owners might think that as well.
It was widely reported that they wouldn’t sell Charlie Austin unless somebody paid at least £15m.
If Rangers had sold him them I think it is fair to assume they would have had to buy a replacement and arguably spent at least £5m on that player, with no guarantee of goals coming from the new striker.
Instead, QPR have kept hold of the striker who scored more Premier League goals than anybody else, with the exception of Aguero, Kane and Costa – plus his goals were for a side who finished rock bottom.
On top of this, in the previous three seasons Austin scored 59 goals in the Championship despite starting only 98 matches.
So they have kept a goalscorer with pedigree, plus the player himself doesn’t seem too upset about the idea and has just got on with things, unlike…Berahino.
In fact Charlie Austin has, seemingly unnoticed, just banged in another four goals in five Championship matches for QPR, helping them to sit in joint second (in terms of number of points) in the Championship.
So what is the worst that can happen for QPR?
Leaving aside possible injury (which is the same for all players), the worst I can see happening is that Rangers have Charlie Austin available to bang in goals until January, when they will have another decision to make as to whether they will look to try and sell him.
If they are looking favourites for promotion at that point, or even an outside bet, why would they sell the forward?
Just so long as QPR’s owners can carry the risk of him potentially leaving for nothing next summer, then there is every reason for them to take that gamble.
With reports that Premier League clubs are likely to receive an extra £40m each via the new TV deals as from next (2016/17) season, if promoted QPR would be guaranteed some £105m (they received £65m this summer) just from TV next season, as compared to the £19.3m they’d get as a parachute payment that particular year.
This one season benefit would of course be dwarfed if Rangers managed to find the right formula to stick around in the Premier League, if promoted this campaign.
QPR also appeared to stick to their valuation of Matt Phillips, another star player who has ended up staying at Rangers, along with Charlie Austin he has started well and already scored twice.
So when the media are talking about cut-price deals in January, as though the most likely conclusion is that by then QPR will be ready to take the first offer that comes along, I think they are well wide of the mark.
I think that the Rangers’ owners may well have seen this as by far the best possible scenario, keeping two of their best players and giving QPR the best chance of bouncing back.
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