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Sunderland and Newcastle on alert as QPR chief admits Charlie Austin could go in January

Charlie Austin is a wanted man
Charlie Austin is a wanted man

Sunderland and Newcastle United are on red alert after QPR chief Les Ferdinand admitted they may sell Charlie Austin next month.

Austin is a wanted man, with several Premier League sides gearing up to test the Championship side's resolve when the January transfer window opens next week.

The striker revealed last week that he intended to see out the rest of his contract and stay with the London side until the end of the season.

But QPR director of football Les Ferdinand admits the club may still sell their star player next month, with the former Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspur striker fearing Austin will change his mind should a 'top six' Premier League club make a bid next month.

Sunderland and Newcastle are both battling relegation but are keen on signing Austin.

Ferdinand said: "I'm realistic and sometimes that gets people upset, but there are teams in the top six of the Premier League that are struggling.

"If one of those teams come in and bid for Charlie, he will want to go because that's where he sees himself.

"Charlie's goals-per-game ratio is up there with the best in the country.

"But obviously we'd love Charlie to stay until the end of the season because we'd have a great chance of making the play-offs," he told the Evening Standard.

Austin is on the wanted list of both Sunderland and Newcastle, with both Sam Allardyce and Steve McClaren looking to boost their forward options. Sunderland are also tracking French striker Sebastien Haller.

The 26-year-old last week scored a second-half double to rescue a draw for QPR against Brighton and confirmed afterwards he was "going nowhere".

New QPR manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, meanwhile, has said recently that the final decision will rest with the club's owners.

"I think in football you can't guarantee anything," said Hasselbaink.

"Everyone wants to make profit and at the end of the day it's a business.

"We have to understand that, as a manager and as a club.

"Do we want to put him up for sale? No. The club does not want to sell him. But, on the other hand, it's up to the owners.

"I can only advise. I can only say, 'No, I don't want him to leave, I need him. I think they will respect that."