Sheffield United are being tenuously linked with a move for Southampton striker Charlie Austin.
This mainly seems to have come from a light-hearted tweet from captain Billy Sharp. Sharp responded to a post from Austin’s wife, Bianca.
Whether this means the Blades are interested in the 29-year-old is debatable. However, some bookmakers are taking no chances and the odds of them signing Austin have plummeted.
There is a strong chance the forward will be leaving St Mary’s this summer after manager Ralph Hasenhuttl said he would not stand in his way.
“Charlie is very clear on the situation that in the summer he must find another option where he plays more often,” Hasenhuttl was quoted by the Mirror.
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“It depends how much he wants to play.
“That’s a situation you can handle for a few months or even a year, but not for five years because you are not born as a footballer to sit on the bench and not play.
“If he comes to me and says, ‘manager it was very nice to help you, it was very nice to be successful with your team, but I want to play more minutes and that’s why I want to leave.’ I’m the last guy who says you cannot.”
Should Sheffield United join Charlie Austin chase?
The Blades are in the market for at least one new striker this summer. They currently only have Sharp and David McGoldrick as first team options.
The Sheffield Star reports Swansea City’s Oli McBurnie is at the top of their wish list. Neal Maupay of Brentford is also being considered.
However, Austin represents an experienced and probably inexpensive alternative. The attacker, who turns 30 next month, has scored 34 goals in 106 Premier League games.
Austin is about to enter the final year of his current contract with the Saints. That, coupled with the fact the club wants to sell, means his asking price is likely to be well within the Blades’ budget.