Charlie Austin scored 15 goals from open play last season, adding 3 more to that from the penalty spot to finish as the fourth highest goalscorer in the Premier League. He directly contributed to 29 goals (18 goals, 11 assists) in QPR's joke of a campaign, which, considering that the team finished bottom of the league and scored only 42 goals in total, is actually quite impressive. Especially since not many expected the former non-league striker to be able to match his Championship production at the Premier League level, too. But he did, and he even got called up by England. Unfortunately for him, the rest of QPR is quite bad. Their level is the Championship. Austin's level is the Premier League.
Sure enough, there are suitors aplenty for his signature. QPR do need to shed some salary and while Austin only has a year left on his contract, he could still fetch a princely sum. I've seen £20m mentioned, even, which does seem a bit high. Newcastle, Southampton, Aston Villa, Spurs have all been regularly connected to him, but recently Chelsea have entered the conversation as well. In fact, we've become the bookies' favorite — and rather suddenly, too — which may not be a predictive indicator, but shows that there's at least plenty of interest in that bet.
Charlie Austin's not the only relegated striker to be a constant customer of the rumor mill — say hello, Falc... wait, I mean Danny Ings — but he's perhaps that one who could make the most immediate impact for his new employers. Trouble is, Chelsea only need a backup striker and £20m sure sounds like a horrendously steep price to pay for a backup, even if he's homegrown. And that's before we start considering someone like Patrick Bamford who put up similar numbers to Austin's Championship goal return.