Newcastle are likely to make a fresh attempt to sign QPR striker Charlie Austin in January, Magpies boss Steve McClaren has revealed.
Newcastle were one of several clubs interested in signing Austin over the summer, but QPR’s £15million valuation of the striker put off all suitors.
Senior figures at St James’ Park were also worried about Austin’s long-standing knee problem, according to The Guardian, but it will not stop the Magpies’ interest.
McClaren said: “He’s been on the radar here from the second half of last season, stayed on it during the summer and he will still be on the radar in January. Definitely.”
For now, McClaren and his players are focused simply on the task of launching their season in earnest after collecting just two points from their opening four Premier League games, two of which have seen them reduced to 10 men before slipping to defeat, ahead of Monday night’s trip to West Ham.
McClaren said: “At this present moment, I am not targeting anything at all other than trying to get this team to play how I want the team to play, and how I can, in my mind, envision what we can do.
“We are not there yet. Until I get that, I can’t say, ‘We will do this’ or ‘We will do that’. It is too early for that.”
With Austin still at QPR and Aleksandar Mitrovic suspended, Papiss Cisse will lead the Newcastle attack at Upton Park.
The Senegal striker was targeted by clubs in the United Arab Emirates over the summer, but McClaren was never keen on selling.
“There was a lot of speculation about Papiss,” he said. “But I said from day one to (Newcastle managing director) Lee Charnley ] ‘flipping heck, if Papiss does go you’ve got to get me a player who can score 11 goals in 22 games as he did last season.’ That’s very difficult in today’s market. When Papiss is focused and fit he’s a threat – and he’s both at the moment.”
McClaren also revealed that he has only met Newcastle owner Mike Ashley once, with Charnley responsible for the day-to-day running of the club.
“I met Ashley once before the [Mönchen] Gladbach game,” McClaren said. “We had 10 minutes’ chit-chat, mostly about Sports Direct and how it makes so much money and how he’s turned this club around in eight years to be in profit and for us to spend £50m and not sell our best player in the last two days of the window.”
“Lee Charnley is running the ship here and we’ve got a good relationship,” said McClaren, who has a seat on Newcastle’s board.
“I’m sure we’ll see Ashley if he’s got a problem but hopefully that won’t happen. He’s kind of thrown it all over to Lee.”