New Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce is targeting an ambitious move for Queens Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin, sources have told ESPN FC.
Allardyce is desperate to bolster Sunderland's attacking options after taking over at the Stadium of Light last week, and he sees Austin as the man who could fire the club to safety in the Premier League.
Austin's future at QPR was the subject of intense speculation during the summer with a number of Premier League clubs credited with an interest in the forward, but QPR managed to keep hold of the player despite relegation to the Championship.
The 26-year-old, who scored 18 goals in the Premier League last season, has scored seven goals in nine appearances this term and is set to be hot property again when the transfer window reopens in January.
Austin is in the final year of his contract at Loftus Road, and QPR could be tempted to cash in on the player in January rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer.
Sunderland are ready to test QPR's resolve to hang onto Austin in the New Year with Sunderland chairman Ellis Short expected to provide Allardyce with funds to try and help climb away from trouble at the bottom of the table.