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Thu May 26 12:46:28 SAST 2016

Southampton sign striker Austin from QPR

AFP | 16 January, 2016 15:14
Newly signed Southampton striker Charlie Austin.
Image by: Southampton FC via Twitter

Southampton have bolstered their attacking options by signing striker Charlie Austin from Queens Park Rangers, the Premier League club announced on Saturday.

Austin, 26, has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract for an undisclosed fee reported to be in the region of £4 million ($5.7 million, 5.2 million euros).

Austin was the top-scoring Englishman in the Premier League last season with 18 goals, but he could not prevent QPR being relegated to the Championship. In total he scored 48 goals for QPR in 89 games.

"I'm delighted to have got it over the line so soon into January. I can't wait to get started now," Austin told the Southampton website.

"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."

QPR were reported to have valued Austin at around £15 million during the close season, but Southampton have been able to sign him for a cut-price fee as his contract was due to expire at the end of the campaign.

"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," said QPR director of football Les Ferdinand.

Austin is uncapped, but was called up by England for the first time at the end of last season.

The former Swindon Town and Burnley striker will provide competition for Graziano Pelle and Shane Long, who are Southampton's joint-top scorers with seven goals to date this season.

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