Steve McClaren is hoping to mark the start of his era at Newcastle United by signing Charlie Austin in a £15million deal.
The Magpies allowed Alan Pardew to leave for Crystal Palace midway through last season, but their decision to appoint John Carver as his replacement for the rest of the campaign almost ended in tears as they battled with relegation. Indeed, it was only on the final day of the campaign when they secured their Premier League safety with a win over West Ham United.
Carver has, as widely expected, since left his post, and McClaren has been named as the new man at the helm of St James Park on a three-year contract. The former England coach has yet to add to the squad he has inherited, but that could well change in the coming days as The Express claim he has been given the green light to make an official approach to sign striker Austin.
The 25-year-old proved he could live with the best the top-flight has to offer last season when, despite being part of the Queens Park Rangers side which suffered relegation, he scored 18 goals in 35 appearances. This has given him a real chance of gate-crashing the national squad for Euro 2016, but to do so, he knows he cannot spend the coming campaign in the Championship.
Leicester City last week tabled an offer of £12million for his signature, yet this was rejected by the capital club despite the fact that the former Burnley star, who they signed for £4million in 2013, is in the final year of his contract. The Loftus Road club rate Austin at £15million and are sure this valuation will be met, and it is a fee McClaren appears prepared to pay to boost his Magpies side.
And according to Sky Sports, Newcastle could also be about to bid for a second striker this week. McClaren is supposedly interested in luring 19-year-old Ivan Toney of Northampton Town, who scored 13 goals last term. The Cobblers accepted an offer of £600,000 for the youngster from Wolverhampton Wanderers last year, only for the deal to collapse due to a failed medical.