Queens Park Rangers forward Charlie Austin would be open to a move to Championship rivals Reading this summer amid links with a move to the Select Car Leasing Stadium, according to Berkshire Live reporter Jonathan Low.
The 32-year-old is set to depart Loftus Road on the expiration of his contract this summer with the R’s opting to let go of one of their forward options despite Andre Gray returning to Watford last month following the expiration of his loan deal.
Paul Ince’s side are thought to be keen on capitalising on this, with the Berkshire outfit set to be restricted in the business they can conduct this summer because of the business plan they agreed with the EFL last November.
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With a tight budget to adhere to, the Royals are likely to be operating solely within the free-agent and loan markets in the coming months as they look to build a squad capable of remaining afloat in the second tier.
Football Insider have revealed that Head of Football Operations Mark Bowen is an admirer of the experienced forward with the duo working together at Premier League side Southampton.
Born in the local area and remaining reasonably close to the Royals to this day, he was previously part of the second-tier side’s youth system and was released, but could sign on with the Berkshire outfit if they table a contract offer for his services.
And as per Berkshire Live journalist Low, he is open to a move to the Select Car Leasing Stadium, perhaps no real surprise considering he wouldn’t need to relocate to link up with Ince’s side.
For all parties, this may be a decent move with the player having the chance to remain in the second tier without having to relocate elsewhere. They may be competing at the bottom end of the table next term, but Reading are probably an ideal option for the 32-year-old who will probably get plenty of playing time under his belt.
With plenty of second-tier experience at his disposal, he could use that to the benefit of the Royals who will be keen to have more options in the forward department to challenge Lucas Joao for his starting spot.
George Puscas’ future remains unclear at this stage following the expiration of his loan spell at Pisa and though manager Ince may be willing to offload him, it remains to be seen whether a side will come in and make an acceptable bid for his services.
Even a modest offer for the Romanian may be good enough for the Royals who will need to try and get a couple of their high earners including Puscas and Liam Moore off their wage bill to make room for additions in the coming months.
If they can offload the duo, that could make room for two or three new forwards to arrive and that would be ideal considering their lack of depth in that area at this stage. If teenager Jahmari Clarke signs a new deal, only two recruits in this department may be necessary.