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Will Charlie Austin be moved on from Southampton in January?

Wednesday 1st November 2017
Southampton is suffering from a lack of goals this season. Only six players have scored so far, with four netting just once. Charlie Austin is one of those players as injuries and form are keeping him out of an impotent Saints side.
Austin has racked up as many minutes in one Carabao Cup appearance than in the Premier League this season, despite Southampton averaging less than a goal a game.

So, is Austin finished at St Mary's? Could he be moving in January?

Time at Southampton blighted by injuries

Signed from Queens Park Rangers for £5m in January 2016, Austin has made 36 appearances in all competitions for Southampton, from a possible 80. Of those games, the English striker has made just 17 starts in over 18 months at St Mary's.

Back during his Burnley days, he came close to a move to Hull City in 2013 but failed a medical and the deal never went ahead. Queens Park Rangers came in for him months later and he featured in just 67% of their 46 Championship matches, struggling with a serious shoulder injury.

But after playing in 92% of QPR's Premier League games the next season, it seemed his injury problems of the past may have been over. However, Austin's move to Southampton has since seen the opposite to be true.
The 28-year-old spent the majority of his debut season with the Saints sidelined with a hamstring and knee injury, making just two league starts between January and May 2016.

2016/17 looked to be going much better for Austin, featuring in 13 of Southampton's first 14 league games of the campaign, before a shoulder injury ended his season – returning in May to make two appearances.

And while he's fit and available for selection this season, new manager Mauricio Pellegrino sees Austin as the third choice in attack.

Austin out of favour under Pellegrino

Manolo Gabbiadini has appeared in all nine of Southampton's Premier League games this season, racking up 510 minutes of playing time, while Shane Long (483 minutes) has played in eight of them.

Austin (78 minutes) has appeared in seven league games but has not started in any. The only full appearance he's made for Southampton in 2017/18 was in August's Carabao Cup defeat to Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Given he's scored 11 goals in 17 starts in all competitions since his move to the South Coast, Austin has proven he's a goalscorer when given the chance. However, it seems Pellegrino isn't going to give him the nod in attack over the highly-industrious, pacey Shane Long and creative, hard-working Gabbiadini.

Lack of playing time in goal-shy side spells the end for Austin

Austin being used sparingly by Pellegrino is strange given Southampton has been struggling in front of goal for some time. The 28-year-old may not be able to hold the ball up like Gabbiadini or possess the speed to beat the offside trap like Long, but he's more than proven in scoring goals.

Since the start of the 2009/10 season, the ex-QPR centre-forward has scored 112 league goals for a variety of clubs – 66 in 129 Championship games and 26 in 64 Premier League outings. So why a Southampton side, who have netted just eight times in nine games this season, have no space for Austin is surprising.

If he continues to be overlooked while the Saints continue to struggle in front of goal, Austin's time may be over with Southampton.
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.

Total articles: 330

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