New QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has warned suitors West Ham, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Everton that no one will “pinch” Charlie Austin on the cheap in January.
Striker Austin is expected to be a target for a host of Premier League clubs when the transfer window reopens, and his £15million summer price tag will have dropped with just six months remaining on his contract.
But the 26-year-old is understood to be happy to stay at Loftus Road and Hasselbaink has warned off any potential suitors.
“You don’t pinch. He’s not going to be pinched,” said the Dutchman.
“I’m looking forward to working with Charlie, and I’m looking forward to working with everyone else as well.”
But Hasselbaink insists Rangers cannot rely solely on their star forward if they are to challenge for promotion this season.
The Hoops are currently 12th in the Sky Bet Championship, but have set their sights on at least reaching the play-offs having sacked Chris Ramsey last month.
“Charlie Austin is a very important individual at this club,” added Hasselbaink.
“But it’s a team game. I want to have a team. I don’t want individuals. You need a team and eventually teams win you titles. Individuals win just the game.
“We need to hit the ground with both feet, not one, and concentrate on a Saturday, and the league will take care of itself. That’s the easiest way, and that’s the best way.”
Hasselbaink insists he has not discussed potential January transfer targets and will give the current squad the chance to prove themselves.
The former Leeds and Chelsea striker landed the Rangers job after his achievements at Burton, where he guided the unfashionable midlands club to the League Two title last season and left them last week sitting at the top of League One.
“I want to work with this group first, I think they deserve that,” he said.
“The secret at Burton? Hard work. Being committed. But what did I bring? That’s for other people to say. There is a certain way I work. I want my players to come in with a smile on their face.
“We work them hard. When they go back they are tired, but they are happy they have done the work.”