With the Saido Berahino deal looking likely to be a tricky one to complete, there is an cheaper alternative who will be easier to land.
Berahino scored an impressive 14 Premier League goals last season but he was trumped by Charlie Austin who notched 18 in a side that were relegated.
While Berahino is likely to cost in excess of £20m – potentially quite a lot more, Austin’s club QPR have said they’ll sell for £15m. It seems a fair price for a player who did so well in his debut season in the top flight.
Indeed, had it not been for the exploits of a certain Harry Kane then Austin’s journey from non-league to the England squad would have been the story of the season.
Yet the mention of Austin’s name as a potential signing by Spurs is generally met with apathy. Austin has scored 217 goals in 352 appearances that have spanned the depts of the Hellenic League Division One East all the way up to the Premier League. His finishing ability is not in doubt, so what is he lacking?
One of the big doubts about him is his ability on the ball outside the box. Last season he was most often paired with Bobby Zamora and it often felt like QPR were forced to play with two up front, when a lone striker would have been a more pragmatic solution.
At Spurs he would be expected to be able to play on his own up front and to improve his work rate when it comes to closing down defenders. At 26 some would say he might be a little too old to learn new tricks, but this is a player that has been stepping up in class and managing to thrive, throughout his career. There is no reason to think that a coach like Mauricio Pochettino couldn’t coax more from him.
Pochettino won’t be able to make him faster though which makes Austin less of an alternative to Kane than Berahino, but in Clinton Njie there is already a lightning fast forward within the ranks.
We agree that Berahino should be the preferred target but should the deal not come off there are advantages to bringing in Austin, who is considerably cheaper and will be much easier to sign. Tottenham could do worse than bringing in the second top English scorer in the Premier League as back up to the first.