Queens Park Rangers can pat themselves on the back now that the transfer window is closed. The Hoops held onto their best player, the very man who could fire them straight back into the Premier League.
QPR were a disaster in the 2014-15 season, but Charlie Austin was their leading light. The English forward didn’t look out of place in his first season in the Premier League, scoring 18 goals in 35 games. He also added five assists.
How QPR held onto him was a mystery.
Austin may have only spent one season in the Premier League, but few forwards were better in that time. Only big hitters like Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa, and the major surprise of the season, Harry Kane, were ahead of him in goals scored. Austin played as a lone striker in a side that at times struggled to give him the service he required. Yet he thrived. His power, clinical finishing and contribution to the cause defensively stood out. While not a mazy dribbler by any means, Austin had to create his own chances at times. He did that with fairly accurate long-range shots, which also pointed to the confidence he had.
Sides like Leicester City, Sunderland and Crystal Palace were reportedly interested but nothing came of it. Part of that may have come to the alleged £15 million fee QPR requested. While that may be a lot for a player with little experience at the highest level, the benefits surely outweigh the costs.
Austin could have been the difference between relegation and survival for a more organized side than QPR. At 26, he was just heading into his prime and could even have sell-on value. Aside from Leicester, none of those sides had players score more than 10 goals. Sunderland didn’t even have anyone score more than six goals.
Further up the ladder you sense that teams like West Ham and Tottenham could have used his services. Aston Villa and Newcastle too. All of these teams either looked abroad for players to fill their forward needs or took on players who cost less. Was £15 million really too much for Austin? There’s no telling what the fee will be if these clubs come calling in January. You expect that to happen in some cases.
Judging by his start to the season, Austin has already moved on. Four goals in five games to start the Championship season is evidence of that. He could, and really should, be doing that back in the Premier League.