Former Newcastle target Charlie Austin has revealed that he was all set to sign for the club under Steve McClaren back in 2015.
The former QPR forward, who recently left Southampton for West Brom, confirmed on Twitter in a Saturday night Q&A session that the deal was ‘done’ on his side – yet failed to materialise.
Here’s what he’s had to say when a Newcastle fans asked how close he came to signing at St James’ Park 5 years ago:
A ‘£12m fee’ was reported to be the stumbling block according to a report from the Guardian in January 2016, but his goals could’ve been priceless that season, making it a move we could’ve benefited from given his form at Premier League level at the time.
We ultimately ended up rueing the decision as we tumbled into a relegation-bound season, with us ironically in need of a striker who’d bagged 18 goals and 7 assists in a poor QPR side the year before.
Austin did secure a move to Southampton the following summer where he was not as prolific in front of goal, but his services could still have been an asset to the Toon side that suffered so badly in the 15/16 season.
Would he have kept us up? Probably not. Steve McClaren and our defensive woes were ultimately what cost us big time that campaign.
He could have provided support for Aleksandr Mitrovic in the Serb’s debut season, where he only returned nine goals himself, but I always felt as though it was the management which cost us top-flight status that year.
Too many times we were thumped due to a leaky defence, as it was only when Rafa came in where we started to look like a solid team – we were unbeaten in the final six games of the season!