Sky Bet suspended betting on the QPR striker moving to St James Park in this transfer window as an exit from Loftus Road looks increasingly likely, while the club have also been linked in several British newspapers with Anderlecht striker Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Former Newcastle defender Howey believes having someone like Austin up front could be vital for getting points out of bad performances.
“I think he would be an excellent signing,” he told skysports.com.
“He’s a proven goalscorer in the Premier League. Even in a team that got relegated he scored goals.
“If Newcastle get somebody like him I think that would be an absolutely massive boost for the boys going into the start of the season.
“When you’ve got somebody like that, you could be not playing so well – away or at home – and all of a sudden he gets half a sniff in the box and it’s in the back of the net, and you end up getting three points.”
If new boss Steve McClaren does manage to land the signing of Austin, he would be Newcastle’s second signing of the summer after they brought in Georginio Wijnaldum from PSV Eindhoven.
The 24-year-old skippered PSV to the Eredivisie title last season, and Howey believes the Dutch contingent at Newcastle could pay dividends in helping him start off his Premier League career well.
“He seems decent enough – you don’t get to play for the Dutch national team easily,” Howey said of Wijnaldum.
“Obviously his record’s decent and it’s always good when that happens but we’ve always seen – not just with Newcastle, but any team – when you get someone in from one of the leagues outside the Premier League, they come in and struggle.
“But he seems to be a lad full of confidence. It obviously helps that he’s got a couple of Dutch lads that can help him settle. He speaks English as well, which can only be good for him.
“Steve McClaren certainly knows his stuff – he knows his players. He seems to think he fits the bill so hopefully, as you hope with any new signings, he’ll hit the ground running.”
While bringing in new faces is important for any club over the summer, Howey also believes is just as key for McClaren to keep some of the club’s top performers from last season.
“There’s the likes of Moussa Sissoko and Tim Krul to keep hold of,” he added.
“I thought Daryl Janmaat had an excellent season last season, and I thought Ayoze Perez and Jack Colback also did really well.
“It’s imperative to keep hold of them. Also, Siem de Jong is going to be like a new signing – he hardly featured but did get a goal towards the back end of the season, which was good for him. He had horrendous luck, really.
“If they can keep hold of those kind of players, and get some more in, they’ll be excellent.
“Someone like Austin would be an absolutely fantastic signing, so if they can get somebody like him and keep hold of those players, I think they’ll be decent.
“They certainly need to improve on what they’ve done in the last couple of seasons which, in fairness, is not going to be difficult.”
Newcastle finished last season with a dismal run of form which dragged them into the relegation scrap, but John Carver’s side beat the drop to finish 15th and four points clear of the bottom three.
After coming agonisingly close to promotion with Derby last season, McClaren’s task is to help push the Magpies back up the table, but Howey also feels a strong showing in the cups would boost the feeling around the club.
“There’s always expectations, and that’s with any fan of any club,” he said.
“We always go into the season thinking ‘right, this is going to be the one, we’re going to do really well’ and then it can end up being awful.
“A good cup run would be really good, because over the last few season the cups have been negated.
“We’ve seen in the past teams not in the Premier League, or teams that have been relegated from the Premier League, have either gone on to get semi-finals or more.
“But I think if he can get in the top 10 or 12 in the league, that would be a really solid start for Steve.
“Not that I know Steve that well, but I’m pretty sure – being the person that he is, and the manager he comes across as – he’ll be wanting more than that.”