Premier League clubs target Austin

WANTED MAN: Charlie Austin
WANTED MAN: Charlie Austin

CLARETS striker Charlie Austin is courting interest from at least 10 Premier League sides after his red-hot start to the season.

Austin has 15 goals to his name so far this term, including 12 in the league, and is the top goalscorer in the country.

Charlie Austin scores his first goal of the night.

Charlie Austin scores his first goal of the night.

Indeeed, only Shaktar Donetsk’s Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitayan can boast more league goals across the European leagues to have started at a similar time to England.

I understand there is concrete interest from Newcastle United and Aston Villa in the 23-year-old, who was Eddie Howe’s first signing, paying Swindon Town £1.2m for the frontman shortly after taking the reins in January 2011.

It is no surprise the country’s leading marksman is attracting interest from above, but the deal he signed on arrival expires in the summer of 2014 - by which time he would be able to leave on a free transfer.

And I believe he has yet to be offered a contract extension to tie him down beyond that date.

Obviously, should nothing advance on that front, he would enter the final year of his contract at the start of next season - and be entitled to negotiate a pre-contract agreement from January 2014.

Joint-chairman John Banaskiewicz said: “He’s come a long way from building walls, but he has become a pointer for us.

“He’s a big asset to the club and has a lengthy contract.

“We have had no interest from Premier League clubs, and any wouldn’t be welcomed.

“He’s a vital part of the team.”

The club also have no need to sell following the sale of Jay Rodriguez to Southampton.

It is thought Newcastle and Villa are both preparing offers Austin, when the transfer window reopens in January - with United boss Alan Pardew having had him watched him over a period of time.

Austin regularly courted scouts in double figures at Swindon, before Burnley beat off competition from the likes of Ipswich Town, Blackpool and Southampton for his signature - the striker knowing Howe from his days in non-league with Poole Town, where he had a spell on trial at Bournemouth, who were unable to sign him due to a transfer embargo.

While Austin and his agent have yet to be contacted about fresh terms at the club, Burnley have opened contract negotiations with midfielder Chris McCann and striker Martin Paterson - with talks commencing after the 3-1 defeat at home to Brighton.

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