Last season, only Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero and Diego Costa scored more Premier League goals than the 18 that Charlie Austin got for QPR. Now, he has completed a £4 million transfer to Southampton, in a move that could prove to be one of the bargain buys of the modern Premier League era.
If you had wanted to buy either of Kane, Aguero and Costa, you would most likely have been paying upwards of at least £40 million. With QPR’s relegation from the top level of English football, Austin’s fee dropped massively with the London side’s need for extra income.
In the summer, Leicester are believed to have offered around £12 million for Austin’s services. Given that the R’s asking price at the time was £15 million - the bid was rejected, a decision that they may regret now.
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The fact his contract was set to run out at the end of the season meant Southampton were able to prise him away from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s grasp for such a minimal fee.
The 26-year-old is the perfect signing for Southampton. It is a club that so far this season has struggled to find a consistent, goal scoring striker, with Graziano Pelle struggling with injury in recent weeks and Shane Long is often deployed in a deeper role.
In a side with the creative talent that the Saints possess, a good striker should be scoring nearly 20 goals a season. Pelle has just six in the league, but with the likes of Dusan Tadic, James Ward-Prowse and Sadio Mane playing in-behind the striker, he would have had many more chances created for him.
In Austin, they now have a striker who will take these chances. He is a natural finisher - something he proved against Southampton at St Mary’s last season with a brilliant volleyed finish on the turn.
If he can score 17 goals in a struggling side, how many will he be able to score for a side where he is playing alongside other top players?
For £4 million, Southampton have signed a man capable of scoring at least ten goals between now and the end of the season, and could be the best bargain since Michu moved to Swansea for £2 million in 2012.