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Burnley column: 21 reasons to get Austin deal right
WHAT will Burnley get for Charlie Austin when the time comes to sell?
Going into the final year of his Clarets contract it is inevitable that the 23-year-old will move for a fee this summer.
The question is, how much?
Many will look at the £7million figure achieved for Jay Rodriguez last summer and expect similar.
The circumstances for their homegrown hero were different though.
Austin has scored more goals – 28 compared to 21 for Rodriguez – but Burnley would have been entitled to compensation for youth team product Rodriguez because of his age (he was just 22 when his record move to Southampton wen through).
Under the Bosman ruling, Austin, who will turn be 24 on July 5, would be an entirely free agent at the end of his three-and-a-half year deal next summer.
But what of Austin’s value to the team this season, even though it has already ended prematurely on a personal note.
Yes, Burnley had one of their best runs of the season, winning their first three league games of the calendar year while the striker was on the sidelines through injury.
But there is no question Burnley have been better with Austin than without him.
Of his 25 league goals, 19 of them have earned 21 points.
Five of them came in between managers.
There was one against Blackpool – the only goal in the first game of the post Eddie Howe era, two in the 4-3 win at Bristol City.
Take all of them out of the equation and it paints a worrying picture for the Clarets.
Of course this can be said for a number of teams who have a runaway top scorer. Take rivals Blackburn Rovers, for example. Without Jordan Rhodes, for whom 21 of his 28 league goals have helped to amass 23 points, relegation would be a certainty.
Crystal Palace, too, would not be challenging for the play-offs were it not for Glenn Murray’s 29 league goals.
Like Burnley’s next top scorer Martin Paterson, Wilfried Zaha is lagging behind with six.
In the Clarets’ promotion season the scoring was more spread out through Graham Alexander, Robbie Blake and Steven Thompson with Chris Eagles not too far behind.
This year the onus has been on Austin.
They will need to replace him and his goals in the summer, and need more of an attacking team effort going forward.
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