Why did no-one buy him? The six key reasons QPR were able to keep Austin

Charlie Austin and Les Ferdinand of QPR
Several clubs were touted as the favourites to sign him, said to be battling it out to sign him or even on the verge of signing him. But the transfer window came and went without QPR even coming close to selling Charlie Austin. Why?

The price tag
To state the bleedin’ obvious, £15m is a lot of money for all but the top clubs. For the rest, a hardworking 26-year-old English striker who scored 18 goals for a struggling team in his first Premier League season will inevitably be of at least some interest, especially when it is widely thought that his club will end up reducing their asking price. But they didn’t.

Not your average Championship club
Why didn’t they reduce it? Because they didn’t need to. The practicalities of relegation, heavy losses and, most importantly, a potential settlement over Financial Fair Play, mean QPR do not want to be seen to spend lavishly at this time. But there’s long been a tendency – even going back to the days of administration, when the effect on the playing side was minimal – for Rangers’ financial plight to be overstated, and now is no different.

They’re not hard-up. Far from it. The club’s Malaysian owners have access to a bewildering amount of money and, for all QPR’s shortcomings, they are not your average Championship club in terms of financial muscle. Plus they were helped by the Raheem Sterling windfall and being able to offload a number of players this summer.

Rangers will be praised by many fans for sticking to their guns, but the bottom line is that they could afford to. Not for them the harsh realities most clubs would face with an asset in the final year of his contract. They weren’t vulnerable to being held to ransom.

QPR co-chairman Ruben Gnanalingam
QPR’s board, led by co-chairman Ruben Gnanalingam, were able to stand firm

The big guns held their fire
Rangers might still have been placed in a difficult situation had one of the big guns come in for Austin without being willing to pay the asking price. But the issue of potentially denying him a move to a top club, and the possible consequences of that, didn’t arise. QPR could therefore be credited with sticking to their guns, and Austin with showing loyalty and commitment, without either’s stance being seriously tested.

No panic factor
QPR felt there was a fair chance at least one Premier League club with an under-pressure manager would panic after a poor start to the season and look in their direction. But that didn’t happen.

Unanswered questions
Austin’s goalscoring record speaks for itself. But reports of interest from various clubs, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham, were fanciful to say the least given that he is not the finished article and has had to learn quickly having climbed from semi-pro level in such a short space of time.

He’s been brilliant for QPR overall, but has previously struggled without Bobby Zamora in the battering-ram role alongside him. Premier League clubs, especially the leading ones, simply don’t play that way. So, for the time being at least, there remain unanswered questions for some over Austin’s top-level ability, which also explains why he has not won an England cap yet.

He has started the season in good goalscoring form again, but as a goalscorer he’s already proved himself. The improvement in other aspects of his game, especially his link-up play, is more significant and will make him a much more viable option for top clubs.

The Bosman factor
Probably the biggest factor of all is that Austin is in a very strong position in the longer term. He can afford to bide his time, knowing that next year he potentially can be offered to Premier League clubs, not as a £15m signing but as a proven English goalscorer available on a free transfer. He also has a great story to tell about his journey in the game, and many respected football people who can vouch for his character and professionalism. That would make him an attractive option for every club – even the top ones.

For all his attributes,  and despite the weeks of speculation, clubs weren’t beating the door down to sign Austin this summer and he wasn’t beating the door down to leave. He didn’t need to. If he carries on as he is then soon enough the door will simply open for him.