Joey Barton has warned Charlie Austin that his ‘unstable’ old club Newcastle United might not be the best move for the striker.
Barton played alongside Austin at QPR last season and watched the hitman bag 18 goals despite the club being relegated.
Will they be the best opportunity for him should he decide to leave QPR?Joey Barton
Austin only has 12 months left on his contract, and has been linked with a move to Tyneside this summer.
But Barton – who fell out with the Magpies hierarchy before being sold in 2011 – says the ‘instability’ at Newcastle might mean Austin should look elsewhere, with Southampton, Tottenham and Aston Villa also linked with the forward.
Barton said: “I spent four years up there (at Newcastle). The only issue for him is maybe a little bit of instability going on, in and around the place.
“Will they be the best opportunity for him should he decide to leave QPR?
“Will they provide a more stable environment for him to kick on to that next level?
“He gets married towards the end of the month and no doubt I’ll have a conversation with him. He’s always asking questions like ‘what’s it like there?’.”
No Newcastle player has scored 20 league goals in a season since Alan Shearer in 2004, and Austin – whose 18 goals earned him an England call-up – has been identified as their No 1 target.
Barton believes the 25-year-old is a ‘natural goalscorer’ but is not the finished article yet.