There’s always plenty of transfer gossip throughout the year with numerous players linked to clubs. So how much of this gossip is realistic and how much of it would be sensible for the clubs and players involved in it? These transfer gossip analysis articles take a look at the major gossip to try and answer the big questions.
What’s the story? Charlie Austin has scored a very impressive 15 goals in his first ever Premier League season as the only goal threat in an otherwise tepid Q.P.R side. Southampton’s exemplary defence has led them to 6th place in the table but the attack has stuttered and the lack of goal power has taken much of the momentum out of their otherwise spectacular season. Graziano Pelle started out in red hot fashion but his wastefulness in front of goal has become a problem. He has scored just 2 goals in his last 20 games and with no other genuine striker options has remained in the team despite his form. The creativity of Mane, Tadic and Elia is not being capitilized upon sufficiently. Austin on the other hand, has been extraordinarily efficient in front of goal managing 15 goals despite nothing like the same supply line. Saints need a goal scorer and Q.P.R look unlikely to be in the Premier League next year.
Does it make sense? Yes. The more you think about it, the more sense it makes. Austin has managed to score 15 goals despite what is behind him where Pelle has only scored 8 despite what is behind him. It’s tempting to think that Austin could be nearer to 20 goals with the Southampton midfield creating opportunities for him and that extra attacking output could have been the difference between Southampton being 6th and perhaps in the top 4. Austin has played as a lone striker plenty of times this season, so would be able to adapt to that same role comfortably. He’s at his best getting on the end of loose balls and crosses and with the quality of wide players Southampton have, he’d have plenty to feed on. He’d be a true poacher striker, a role that the bustling but inconsistent Shane Long and the patchy Pelle look less capable of filling.
Is the price right? Long cost £12m, so even though he was bought from a Premier League team it’s hard to see Austin costing any less even if Q.P.R are selling from the Championship. Even so, in the current climate if the price climbed up to £15-18m it would be fair. Austin is just 25 and is a lethal finisher with Premier league goals in his boots.
Will it happen? 7.5/10 – Southampton seem like a strong candidate to acquire Austin’s services. They’ve bought Long, Bertrand and Clyne from English teams and Wanyama and Forster from Celtic so they are clearly willing to engage with the domestic market. Although it’s early for any kind of certainty, this seems like such a good fit. It follows Southampton’s recent patterns of behaviour in the transfer market so it’s easy to see happening. Their team core was built on local talent, so Austin would be a sensible addition and a realistic target. He’s been linked to Spurs and Liverpool but with Kane and Sturridge in place, it doesn’t really make sense. Southampton however, look a great landing spot.
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