After enduring a summer transfer window filled with rumours of Charlie Austin’s supposedly impending move to Upton Park, the West Ham hierarchy – along with that of Aston Villa and Newcastle – eventually saw fit not to land the Queens Park Rangers’ striker for the 2015/16 campaign.
Hammers co-chairman, David Sullivan, nonetheless took matters further in somewhat unplanned circumstances, after publically vocalising the club’s distinct concerns with Austin’s recent injury record and the health of his knees in particular. The east-end outfit had clearly taken precautionary steps in their transfer policy this summer, since witnessing club record signing – Andy Carroll – fall victim to injury concerns time and time again in the last few seasons.
So then, whilst the 26-year-old Englishman has in-fact been side-lined for some early portions of the 2015/16 campaign, yet still managed to register a decent return in front of goal so far this term – were West Ham ultimately right to stay well away from Charlie Austin this summer?
Well, even with the centre-forward’s recent injury concerns in mind, it remains a shock that the Hungerford-born striker eventually stayed put at Loftus Road by the time the summer transfer window eventually came to a close. Austin had enjoyed a particularly fine campaign with QPR in the Premier League – and although the club seemingly couldn’t stay afloat in the end – their marquee front-man nonetheless proved impressive on several different occasions.
The 26-year-old bagged himself series of praise-worthy goals throughout the 2014/15 campaign, his link-up play in the final third proved more successful than most football fans would have initially expected of the front-man, and it really wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Charlie Austin included in the most recent Three Lions selection had he still been plying his trade among the English top-flight.
Although no Premier League club wants to sign a marquee striker who could potentially break down at any minute in light of his supposed injury record, Charlie Austin’s health related concerns were seemingly overstated across the summer months. The recently emerged attacker has proven relatively fit in the last few years or so – and barring any major downturn in fortunes for the current QPR favourite – the 26-year-old looks like he can easily keep good shape when the situation requires.
West Ham could therefore be regretting their summer decision to apparently reject Charlie Austin had it not been for one standout factor only – his ridiculous transfer fee. Put in no uncertain terms, the English striker simply fails to represent a £15 million player even in the most generous of lights. Two of the Hammers’ most impressive assets this season, both Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini, each arrived at Upton Park for a combined fee of less than what QPR wanted for Austin after all…
On the basis of financial reasoning alone, West Ham made the right decision. One strong season among the Premier League doesn’t make you a great player – regardless of how well some football fans may have taken to the situation. Had any top-flight side eventually met the asking price of the in-demand front-man last summer, Charlie Austin would have sadly gone down as yet another over-priced Englishman contributing to the downfall of footballing perspective in this country.
As Slaven Bilic also has the likes of Diafra Sakho, Andy Carroll, Mauro Zarate and Ecuadorian international Enner Valencia – had he not just got recently side-lined by a worrying injury last time out against Everton – the Hammers would have been considered greedy and out of touch with their current squad if they somehow found the funds to sign Charlie Austin as well.
So then, even though QPR may well be forced to drop their inflated £15 million valuation of the physical centre-forward this January – in light of the club’s rather lowly position in the Championship table – West Ham ultimately made the right call if leaving the services of Charlie Austin well alone this summer.
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