Charlie Austin
Charlie Austin netted 18 times in the Premier League last season Getty Images

Newcastle United have been urged to sign Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin during the summer transfer window.

The 26-year-old hitman netted 18 Premier League goals last season, making him the fourth highest scorer in the top flight behind Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Diego Costa, form that saw him rewarded with a call-up to the senior England squad in June.

The Sunderland Echo understand that Newcastle are currently unwilling to match QPR's £15m ($23.45) valuation of Austin, who has one year remaining on his contract at Loftus Road.

Rangers risk losing Austin next summer for nothing if they cannot tempt the player into signing a new deal, but would benefit from his presence this term as they attempt to win promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has joined Newcastle on a five-year deal from Anderlecht but former defender Steve Howey says manager Steve McLaren should further bolster their forward line in the form of Austin.

"[In the North East] they had stopped taking bets on Charlie Austin [joining Newcastle] and suddenly they go and sign another centre-forward, so it will be interesting to see what happens," he told Talksport.

"For me, I'd get him in because I think he's a fantastic goalscorer, he scored goals last season in a team that struggled and I think [the crowd at Newcastle] would love him.

"I know Alan Shearer has been in touch and said he should sign but for me I would go all-out to try to get someone like him."

Mitrovic has joined Georginio Wijnaldum in arriving at Newcastle this summer in the only new additions to a squad that flirted with relegation from the Premier League up until the final day of last season.

Victory over West Ham United secured Newcastle's top-flight status but the club faces another testing season under new boss McLaren.

Central to the Toon's struggles last term was the second-worst defensive record in the Premier League, with 63 goals shipped in 38 matches. Only bottom club QPR had a poorer record at the back.

And with first-choice centre-back pairing Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini suffering from problems with form and injury, Howey is keen to see the back-line strengthened.

"Another centre-half, I think Steven Taylor has been very unfortunate with his Achilles injuries," he added. "Coloccini – his form wasn't brilliant last season but then again I don't think a lot of them were and none of them stood out for me."