Southampton have pulled off a major transfer coup.
Charlie Austin, 26, has joined the Saints from Queens Park Rangers for a fee believed to be in the region of $6.5 million with the striker only having six months left on his deal with the R’s.
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Austin — whose remarkable rise has seen him work his way up from the semi-pro scene to the lower leagues and then enjoy a breakout first season in the Premier League last year — has signed a four-and-a-half year deal with Southampton and he will join up with his new team next week.
The man who scored 18 goals during his debut season in the PL, which culminated in a call up to the English national team last summer, has been playing for QPR in the second-tier this season but it was always likely he’d leave in the January transfer window as the club looked to cash in rather than losing Austin for nothing in the summer.
Speaking to Southampton’s website, Austin revealed why he chose to play out the prime of his career at St Mary’s.
“I’m delighted to have got it over the line so soon into January. I can’t wait to get started now. As soon as Southampton showed an interest that was the one club I wanted to go to,” Austin said. “You see the progression from when I was playing against Southampton for Swindon. For me, it was important to come to a club that’s on the up and that’s what I’ve got here.”
Austin only became a pro in 2009 and yours truly remembers marking him in a preseason friendly at Poole Town once upon a time. Memories.
With Southampton already possessing Graziano Pelle and Shane Long up front, plus Jay Rodriguez currently making his latest comeback from injury, Austin’s arrival will give Ronald Koeman plenty of options in attack but rumors have been rife that Long may be heading to Liverpool as part of Austin’s arrival.
Regardless, goals have been an issue in the PL for Southampton this season, with Pelle their top scorer on six, so adding Austin is a smart move and during his days in League One and the Championship he often scored against Saints and became somewhat of a bogey player for the South Coast club. At least now he’s on their side.
Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, West Ham United, plus more recently Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham, have all shown plenty of interest in the former bricklayer turned pro, but Saints have pounced to snap up the predatory striker for a bargain.