Monday 28 May 2018

Koeman: Charlie Austin can be missing link for Southampton

Charlie Austin's move has only cost Southampton £4million
Charlie Austin's move has only cost Southampton £4million

Ronald Koeman feels he has signed the natural goalscorer Southampton have been missing in the shape of Charlie Austin

The 26-year-old striker, who scored 18 goals in the Premier League for QPR last season, signed for Saints in a cut-price £4million deal on Saturday morning.

"I hope he will bring goals, that's why he was our target for this transfer window," said Saints boss Koeman.

"I think we need a player like him, everybody knows his number of goals. He's still only 26 and it's good to have him in now. It's good for the other players and it's good to see what his physical state is.

"He gives us more competition. W e are always trying to make the squad stronger and signing that sort of player is very important.

"Every Premier League team has competition. And at the moment Graziano Pelle is still not 100 per cent fit, Jay Rodriguez is not training, so if something happened to Shane Long we'd have no one up front.

"Now we are also prepared for next season. He is here now and it's good for the boy. He needs to adapt to how we work and he'll know everything for next season."

Saints certainly appear to have picked up a bargain, with relegated Rangers asking £15million for Austin last summer.

But Koeman added: "I don't talk about money, that's not my job. We said to the board that he was the number-one target and I'm very pleased Charlie is a Southampton player."

Austin, who was called up by England for the first time at the end of last season, has penned a four-and-a-half-year deal at St Mary's.

"I'm delighted to have got it over the line so soon into January," he told the club's official website, "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.

"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."

Former bricklayer Austin has only been in the professional game since 2009, when his fine form with Wessex League part-timers Poole Town earned a move to Swindon.

The striker continued to find the net and moved on to Burnley before then joining QPR, where he became a fans' favourite with 48 goals in 89 appearances.

Austin, who has been out for the past month with a hamstring complaint, has scored 10 goals in 16 appearances this term and leaves Loftus Road with QPR director of football Les Ferdinand's best wishes.

"It's no secret that Charlie is out of contract in the summer so this is a decision made in the best financial interests of the club," he said.

"Charlie has had a significant impact on this football club in his time here and we are hugely grateful to him for his contribution during his spell with us.

"Whilst we are sorry to lose Charlie, once he expressed an interest in moving to Southampton, we could not stand in his way.''

Press Association

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