Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin has dismissed summer speculation linking him with a potential move to Manchester United, while also admitting that he did turn down a return to the Premier League with an unnamed side during the recent transfer window.
The 26 year old looked certain to leave Loftus Road following an excellent individual 2014/15 campaign in which he notched 18 top-flight goals and finished fourth in the scoring charts, behind only the trio of Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Diego Costa. Such an impressive season, coupled with QPR's relegation, appeared to attract the attention of a multitude of clubs, including the likes of Leicester City, Tottenham, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Newcastle.
Manchester United were also said to be back in contention for his signature as the clock ticked down towards the end of deadline day, with the London Evening Standard reporting that an inquiry was indeed launched prior to the club's 2-1 defeat at Swansea and their subsequent decision to spend in excess of £36m ($55.4m) to sign Anthony Martial from Monaco. While the idea of Austin moving to Old Trafford may seem slightly far-fetched to some, Louis van Gaal remains short of striking options with Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez all having departed, and James Wilson likely to be loaned to the Championship soon.
The player himself does not believe such a switch was ever a possibility, however. He told Talksport: "No. That was never on the cards. Not from what I'm aware of."
Despite the constant speculation surrounding Austin's future over recent months, it seems that very few concrete offers for his services were actually submitted as QPR stood firm over their valuation. Director of football Les Ferdinand confirmed in August that he had only received two bids for the former Swindon and Burnley forward, both of which fell short of the club's £15m price tag.
Although it was initially speculated that QPR were pricing their key asset out of a move, Austin claims it was his choice to remain in West London and that he did reject the opportunity to join a Premier League team. He added: "I turned down a move [to the Premier League] which wasn't right for me and my family. I didn't feel it was right for me to go, so I stayed at QPR."
Austin has attracted praise for the professional manner in which he dealt with his long-running transfer saga. As well as evidently not trying to force through any exit, he has also continued to play a crucial role for QPR with four goals in five games as Chris Ramsey's side have started life back in the second tier in impressive fashion. Few would back against him continuing that impressive run on 12 September as the Hoops host Nottingham Forest in their first match back after the recent international break.