Aston Villa are experiencing a mass exodus of players at the moment, but there is hope yet for this transfer window: QPR striker Charlie Austin remains available.
But, why should an 18-goal centre forward join a side that barely escaped relegation when it seems that top players like Fabian Delph and Christian Benteke are abandoning ship without a second thought?
Well actually, that’s exactly why.
Since Villa have been gutted of attackers, Austin could be the knight in shining armour for Tim Sherwood’s men. The Englishman has already filled that role nicely for Burnley and QPR, helping the latter gain promotion to the Premier League following the 2013/14 season.
However, the R’s will be back to playing Championship League football next season, but that doesn’t mean Austin has to be relegated along with them. Wouldn’t it be nice if Austin could be the hero for a top-flight team for a change?
Despite leaving it too late to avoid a poor finishing position, the Villans showed a glimpse of what might be in store under Sherwood’s leadership by making it to the FA Cup Final after his appointment in February. They are a team with immense promise and plenty of valuable players still left.
Among the talents still remaining at Villa Park are the likes of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Carlos Sanchez, both of whom were often overshadowed by Benteke and Delph. Agbonlahor scored six league goals, behind only Benteke, while Sanchez is also an aggressive enforcer. Both are versatile and would provide good support for Austin.
Villa have a reputation as a selling club, so there’s a good chance for Austin to further make a name for himself and still have the option to get poached by a bigger club down the line. The 26-year-old currently has a £15m price tag on his head, but if he makes as big an impression at Aston Villa as Benteke did, he too could be fetching £32.5m before long.
In the end, a move to the Claret and Blue is one of opportunity. A good season for Austin in Birmingham could simultaneously create two choices: open one door to building a legacy with a newly rejuvenated Villa team, or another to join a Champions League-level club. And it would be up to Austin which door to walk through.