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Did Newcastle sound QPR out with unbelievable offer for Charlie Austin?

The Mirror is reporting that Newcastle at least considered an offer for Austin that just plain doesn't make sense.

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The transfer window is not even closed for a week at this point, but there are already transfer rumors kicking up regarding Newcastle United players.  The fun part is that at this point in the calendar, the rumors go both ways... that is to say that we have a player rumored to leave the club in January and a rumor that a different player was offered as makeweight in a possible transfer for a major target in the window just closed.  This particular international break is always a ton of fun for just that reason.  There's precious little to talk about with regard to club football so rumors are fun!

Recently landed winger Florian Thauvin has already been linked with a move to Barcelona in the January window.  Barcelona are coming off of a transfer embargo which saw them unable to register any player until January 2016.  It is natural that they would be connected with players, and why not Thauvin because he couldn't really want to be in Newcastle anyway, could he?  We'll deal with this one if and when it becomes necessary, but the reported £18.5m fee Barcelona are willing to pay is likely way too low for a player who likely has a large role in the reshaping of the Newcastle United squad.

The other rumor is slightly harder to dismiss, but still seems a little off.  Dean Jones of The Mirror has written a piece suggesting that Newcastle sounded QPR out about a move for Charlie Austin that would have included highly rated young winger Rolando Aarons moving the other way.  There is one level on which this move made sense and it is this:  Both players are out of contract at the end of this season.  Beyond that, there is no reason to think that this "rumor" has any base in reality.

We all know that QPR were holding out for a £15m fee for their star striker.  We also know (due to the fact that Austin still plays for Rangers) that no other club thought £15m was an acceptable price for Austin. Jones purports that Newcastle considered offering £10m + Aarons to land one of their big targets of the summer window.  The problem with that idea is the math.  We know Newcastle were not willing to pay £15m for Austin.  It follows, then, that a £10m + Aarons had the winger valued at something less than £5m as if the total package were £15m, Ashley and Co. would likely have just paid that outright without losing a talented star of the future type prospect, especially at a price considerably under the value the club likely has in mind for Aarons.  Sure his contract is expiring next summer, but unless the club already have no hope that they can sign him to a new deal, this "report" doesn't make sense.  If they had no hope that they could sign Aarons to a new contract, they would have found a way to ram this deal through, especially for a player that it was known they were highly desirous of.

It's international break and the transfer window is closed and it's hard to come up with stories to fill the gaps... but if you want to start a rumor, you have to at least make sure that there is some way to trace it back to some tangible reality.