Last season QPR struggled in the Premier League, but while the Hoops were performing their usual disappearing act from the top-flight star striker Charlie Austin was thriving.
The 25-year-old was in his debut campaign in the Premier League, yet he looked like he belonged far more than his Hoops colleagues.
Austin’s impressive performances in his debut campaign in the top-flight showed that he could score goals at the highest level. The striker found the net 18 times for the Hoops, who finished bottom of the table after a poor campaign.
At times he seemed to be on a one man mission to keep the Hoops in the top-flight, as his team struggled to score goals without him. It seemed at one point that if Austin didn’t score then QPR didn’t score.
Austin is currently away with the England squad ahead of a Euro 2016 qualifier against Slovenia later today. His rise from non-league player just six years ago is quite incredible.
Austin was signed by Swindon in 2009 from non-league Poole Town and ever since he has gone about proving his worth for every club he has been at. He Chris Smalling and Jamie Vardy continue the England team’s tradition of former non-league players being selected for the national team.
The tradition seemed to have died out in recent years after the likes of Ian Wright and Stuart Pearce went from non-league to national team in the late eighties and early nineties. The fact that most England internationals are now highly pampered at academies mean very few players start at the bottom.
Austin is a great example to any youngster released by a league club that they can still make it as a professional footballer. Reading released Austin at 15 for being too small and now he is one of the most in-demand strikers in English football.
Charlie Austin seems to be a natural born goal scorer. The 25-year-old gets himself into positions to score time and time again. Even if he misses chances, it does not stop him from getting into scoring positions.
He has scored goals for every team he has played for and the doubts about his ability to score in the Premier League have now been dismissed.
When it became clear that QPR would be in the Championship next season it also became clear that their star striker would not still be with them. His goal return last season always meant that he would continue to play in the Premier League next season.
Newcastle are currently favourites to sign the striker at odds of 2/9, while champions Chelsea are odds of 3/1 and Southampton are odds of 6/1 to sign the striker this summer.
The likes of Liverpool, Everton and Aston Villa have all also been linked with a move for the highly-rated striker this summer.
He would be a stellar addition to any Premier League squad. It looks likely that he will ended up at a club that will give him first team football, so that means he is unlikely to be moving to Chelsea, where he would be back-up to Spain international Diego Costa.
Newcastle’s new head coach Steve McClaren is believed to have made him his top transfer target this summer. Austin is the sort of striker who could earn cult status in the north east.
The Toon Army are in need of a new hero after a terrible campaign and Austin has the attributes to be that hero.
Southampton could be an interesting move for Austin as well. The Saints play with one striker so he would be rivalling Italian international striker Graziano Pelle for that role.
Ronald Koeman has a team that seems to create a lot of chances, which for a period of last season Pelle missed. The Italian could be replaced by the former-Burnley star next season.
As a team QPR deserved to be relegated from the top-flight last season. They were just not good enough. However, Austin’s effort last season means that he deserves to be playing top-flight football next season.
Where he will be plying his trade next season remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure he will remain a Premier League striker.
Who will sign Charlie Austin this summer?