Let’s talk about Charlie Austin. A young and hungry British centre forward who runs his legs into the ground for the good of his team. A man who was able to score 18 Premier League goals in 35 games for an utterly atrocious QPR side. Someone who has the ability to adapt to the circumstances of a match either up front by himself or with a strike partner. At 6 foot 2 inches, he has a perfect build suitable for the hustle and bustle of the English game. He has proved himself right from the very bottom of the football pyramid during his time at Kintbury Rangers – (yes, I did have to Wikipedia him to find that he played for the mighty Gers) – to the top and the world wide phenomenon that is the glamour of the Premier League. Yet despite all this and the rumours linking him to the substitute’s bench of Stamford Bridge, it looks as though Austin is on the verge of signing for West Ham. This begs the question. Why the heck aren’t Manchester United snapping him up?
The problem with Falcao at Manchester United was that it was evident that he relies too much on his team mates to create chances for him. This is why the Columbian only managed 4 goals during his time at Old Trafford. He just doesn’t have the ability to pluck something out of nothing in order to score a goal any more. A few years ago, he was the very best in the world at doing that. Unfortunately he no longer possesses that ability. Austin meanwhile, still does have the ability to create chances for himself without having to rely on service from his team mates. When the ball falls to him inside the penalty area you can rely on him to put the ball into the back of the net, despite the number of defenders that may be surrounding him. The way he is able to lose his marker from crosses and set pieces is a self-taught trait that only few can master. Austin is one of the few.
With the likes of Depay, Di Maria and Ashley Young getting crosses into the box at a canter, United need a striker who is able to pick up any loose balls and successfully sniff out any half chances and turn them into goals. Austin is that player. If he can score 18 goals in a season for QPR with the trash that he had to play alongside, that number would almost certainly double with the supply that he would receive at the Theatre of Dreams. Yes, Harry Kane may be the preferred choice of striker signing, but with this looking unrealistic for the time being at least, Austin has to be the one that Messrs van Gaal and Ed Woodward capture this summer. It is fair to say that money would not be an issue for completing the signing of a Championship player.
It is only a matter of time before Austin will make his England debut. Only Roy Hodgson himself knows why out of Austin and Jamie Vardy in the recent England international matches, it was Vardy who was preferred to make his debut for the Three Lions first. If Austin had scored 18 goals for Liverpool, he would have played every single possible minute for England over the course of the past year. Only a fool would suggest that Austin won’t go on to become a regular England international and score goals aplenty for the national side. Imagine a strike force of Austin and Kane with Wayne Rooney sitting just behind. A mouth-watering prospect for England to go into the European Championship in France next summer. Let alone if United supporters had the joys of the prospect of this at the biggest club in the world at some point in the future.
Approaching his 26th birthday, Austin is in his prime. He has at least another 5 years playing at the top level ahead of him. He probably hasn’t even hit his peak yet. He hasn’t even been given the chance to flourish properly, given the clubs he has represented. In his maiden season in the Premier League he has scored goals against the likes of Southampton, Chelsea and Manchester City. Without his goals, QPR’s pitiful points tally would have been substantially less than it was anyway. The performance at Loftus Road against Manchester City, where Austin scored twice in a 2-2 draw on an afternoon where had a couple of other goals disallowed as well, was one of the best individual performances of the 2014/15 season. Despite having next to no service, Austin produced an outstanding performance and it proved that he has the credentials to play against the best clubs for a top club. How fantastic it would be if that top club was Manchester United. Austin would be the perfect fit for Manchester United. He deserves so much more than West Ham.
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