Losing Charlie Austin doesn’t bear thinking about, writes Jamie Smith.
While the Club has regularly insisted Austin is not for sale, funny things can happen on deadline day. All players have a price and although Eddie Howe will be looking to bring in players rather than let them go, all eyes are likely to be on Charlie Austin.
With eight goals in eight games if we include friendlies, Austin is arguably the country’s form striker at the moment. Martin Paterson and Danny Ings are injured. We can’t even consider the possibility of losing the ex-brickie today, which would leave us with only Wales international Sam Vokes.
But we must. The fact of the matter is that if a Premier League club is panic-buying strikers late today, Austin is likely to be on their radar. Goalscorers of his quality do not come along every day and if it wasn’t for perceived doubts over his dodgy shoulder, he may already be playing top flight football.
Fortunately, Charlie has a very good relationship with Eddie and I’m sure he will want to repay the faith of Howe, who handed him a trial at Bournemouth before bringing him to Turf Moor from Swindon Town. It’s easy to forget now, but at the time there were a lot of questions asked of a £1 million deal for a player who had only played in the lower leagues. What a bargain it looks now.
Us drawing Town in the Capital One Cup is also a little bonus, as Austin will be looking forward to a trip to his old ground. He doesn’t seem like the sort of man who would demand a move away, but that’s not to say it couldn’t happen.
Austin has been linked with Middlesbrough, Huddersfield and Blackpool this summer – clubs that wouldn’t have a hope of mustering an offer that could tempt us. Even Huddersfield, cash-rich after flogging Jordan Rhodes to Rovers for a ludicrous £8 million, couldn’t attract Austin. Mainly because Austin is a better player, with more goals at a higher level, so is surely worth more.
The Rhodes deal places a new slant on any possible move for Austin. Previous comparisons were made to Jay Rodriguez, who joined Southampton for around £7 million at the start of the summer. Jay had a full season of banging them in at Championship level and impressing Premier League scouts and £7 million sounded about right. Most fans would probably agree we would struggle to fetch that for Austin a few weeks ago, even though he’s been more prolific in his career to date.
Any club that calls Turf Moor today and asks about Austin will be told he’s not for sale, I’m sure. But if they start throwing figures around, we can tell them he’s worth more to us than Rhodes was to Huddersfield.
The only chance of him moving today is if a big club – a properly big club – was to offer in excess of £8 million for his services. I hope Eddie has a list of targets he can move quickly for – Stephen Dobbie, Callum McManaman and Brett Pitman have all been linked – in case we do lose Charlie today.
Highly unlikely perhaps, but still a concern for fans. As long as Austin – as well as Kieran Trippier and Chris McCann – are still Clarets at the end of the day, most of us will be happy regardless of who we sign. Moves away for the likes of Keith Treacy and Alex MacDonald might be celebrated, though.
How much would Austin fetch in today’s market? Comment below.