Newcastle United have turned their attention to signing striker Charlie Austin this summer after he was placed on the transfer list by Southampton, according to Football Insider.
The reliable news outlet claims that the Magpies are considering a bid for the 30-year-old, who is valued at £8million by the Saints as Ralph Hasenhuttl aims to get him off their payroll.
It is understood that Aston Villa have also been in the hunt to sign Austin this summer but Steve Bruce’s appointment at Newcastle appears to have kickstarted their pursuit of the former QPR striker.
It’s hard to say whether or not Austin would be any good for Newcastle. The ex-Burnley forward is past his best as he was on fire while he was at Turf Moor and Loftus Road, but since joining Southampton in January 2016, his goal ratio has decreased with 20 goals in 81 appearances across all competitions. He has 34 goals in 106 Premier League appearances in his career and is also 30-years-old. One of the main reasons why Mike Ashley wouldn’t let Rafa Benitez sign Salomon Rondon on a permanent basis was widely reported to be down to his age. Rondon is slightly younger than Austin but would have been more expensive, so that £8million price-tag for an experienced top-flight striker could be why Ashley would allow Bruce to sign the transfer-listed Saints forward. Austin might also be better than any of Newcastle’s existing striker options, which is why this could end up being a decent deal for the Magpies if they can strike an agreement with Southampton before Aston Villa do.