QPR goal machine and England hopeful Charlie Austin is reportedly stalling over extending his contract at Loftus Road.
The Super Hoops star’s tally of 13 strikes is just two shy of the Premier League leading scorer mark set by Chelsea’s Diego Costa, a man who cost £32m and has the luxury of Cesc Fabregas and co furnishing him with numerous chances.
For Austin to be in top scorer contention – he is 14/1 to be crowned the most prolific marksman in the top-flight this season – is an achievement worthy of the highest commendations, but would he be as effective plying his trade away from QPR?
With unbridled access to the first team and approaching every game with sky-high spirits brought about through being the R’s main player, the former bricklayer is flourishing.
Both of these essential aspects would be removed if he absconded to a side residing in the division’s upper echelons.
Austin’s hesitancy to commit to QPR indicates this is exactly what he’s angling for, but he should take heed of what happened to these lower-tier superstars that tried to jump to superstardom too soon.
Released from Tottenham as a junior, Crouch was guilty of hurrying the transition back into the limelight not once, but twice.
After a profitable 18-goal, season-long first spell in what is now the Championship with Portsmouth, the beanpole frontman joined Aston Villa, where he endured three years of rarely playing or scoring before being sold to Southampton.
Dropped into the smaller pond, he succeeded again by scoring 12 in 27 as the Saints were relegated in his first campaign.
He knocked back a host of sides in favour of a glamour switch to Liverpool, where it took him a monster 19 games before he first found the net.
A couple of decent campaigns for Charlton between 2005 and 2007 saw the current Derby man register 31 in the league.
This prompted Tottenham to splash out a then club record fee of £16.5m to sign him, though they didn’t get much of a return on their investment.
He struck just 18 in two seasons at White Hart Lane, hitting as few as six in his first, before being sold to Sunderland.
Roque Santa Cruz
The Paraguayan poacher misfired for several seasons at Bayern Munchen, never scoring more than five league goals in a single season.
After years of underachievement he opted to downsize in expectation and headed to Blackburn, where he scored 19 goals – his best effort by an enormous margin – in 37 Premier League games.
Injury limited him to 20 outings and four goals the following season, but this didn’t cause Santa Cruz to doubt himself when title-chasing Manchester City came calling.
He bagged a paltry four in two campaigns at the Etihad and has since been outsourced to Spain.