With the £4m transfer of Charlie Austin from QPR to Southampton blazing to completion over the weekend, we need to look at who got the best deal.
It would be easy to say Southampton. They got a quality goalscorer who is Premier League proven in Austin for only £4m. With their top scorer Graziano Pelle struggling for consistency, Southampton have struggled to consistently put the ball in the net. When they get on a roll, like this weekend or against Arsenal, they can really tear teams apart, but it happens too infrequently. That won’t be the case anymore. Charlie Austin knows where the net is. He may not be the most mobile of players, certainly not an Aguero-style striker, but he can finish off a move with the best of them. A pure poacher, of sorts. If Southampton can get Austin going and get him the ball in the net, they will have found a consistent scorer on the cheap.
If this move works out so perfectly for Southampton, how can I even make an argument for QPR? Well, it’ll be tough, but I’ll give it the ol’ college try. The biggest thing that is working in QPR’s favor is that we all knew Charlie Austin was leaving. If not in January, he was leaving in the summer. QPR was in a tough spot, because the player only has four months left on his contact and it was clear there would not be an extension. For QPR to get £4m for a player that they could easily have lost for nothing in the summer is a great move for them. In this way, they are able to reinvest the money, and they really need to reinvest. QPR currently sits at 15th in the Championship, a full 21 points off the top. This is terrible for a team that was just relegated. Now lets look at how QPR has been using Charlie Austin this season. To sum it up in two words, we can say “Not much”. Charlie Austin has been used in about half of the games this season, scoring ten goals total in 16 appearances. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to find a player that can contribute more (either scoring more goals or stopping them, which has been QPR’s problem).
So, which team got the better deal in this? Honestly, they both got a great deal. It’s very telling that the transfer got finished up so quickly. If QPR thought that they would be able to start a bidding war, you bet they would have. What this tells us is that QPR were pretty certain that £4m was the best fee they were going to get for the player that only has four months on his contract. Getting £1m a month for a player isn’t bad at all. That being said, Charlie Austin’s goal scoring record this season (a goal every 1.6 games) is great, and we know he can do it in the Premier League. I’m going to have to say Southampton just squeaks it, with the fact that they paid so little for him. It just shows that QPR should have taken the £13m offer they received this summer. That said, QPR got the best deal in a crappy situation they set themselves up in.