According to a recent report from The Daily Telegraph, Stoke City are one side eyeing up a January move for Charlie Austin. The 29-year-old currently plays his football at Premier League outfit Southampton and has done so since leaving Queens Park Rangers three years ago, only for the arrival of Ralph Hasenhuttl as the new Saints boss seeing him fall down the striking pecking order at St Mary’s.
And a recent report from The Daily Telegraph suggests that the Englishman could be set for a move away from the South Coast outfit this month in a bid for regular first team football, with Nathan Jones’ Stoke one side reportedly (as per The Daily Telegraph) keen on 29-year-old.
And with the Potters having proven to be pretty goal-shy in the second tier this season, luring the Premier League ace away from Southampton would go some way to significantly benefiting Jones’ side ahead of the remainder of the season.
Ultimately, there was much expectation around the bet365 Stadium during the summer following the appointment of Gary Rowett as the new Potters boss, with the Englishman tasked with turning the relegated side into one challenging at the right end of the Championship this time round.
However, the former Birmingham City and Derby County chief lost his job at the Staffordshire-based outfit earlier this month given his side’s indifferent start to the campaign, with part of their problem their struggle to put the ball in the back of the net – as of now, Stoke have managed to score on just 33 occasions so far this term, which is fewer than all but one side (Middlesbrough) currently ahead of them in the division.
And with Benik Afobe the club’s leading goal-scorer with only eight so far this term, and just three others reaching five in all competitions, it’s pretty clear that striking reinforcements are necessary this month if Jones is to take the club forward in 2019 – after all, they are only eight points adrift of the top six.
And a move for Southampton striker Austin would go some way to seriously benefiting the Potters in the final third of the pitch.
The Englishman may have been playing at Premier League level for much of the last few years, but the 29-year-old has certainly excelled in the second tier throughout his career in spells at Burnley and QPR.
Be it 41 goals in just 82 games for the former between 2011 and 2013, in which time he helped the Clarets record successive mid-table finishes in the Championship, or indeed his 27 goals in 47 second tier matches for QPR between 2013 and 2016, Austin’s record at Championship level is quite extraordinary – there aren’t many strikers like him available at this time of year.
Yes, injuries have somewhat stunted his progress at Southampton, appearing just 72 times for the Saints in the last three years, but it’s clear that when fully fit and firing, the Englishman could be a huge asset to Jones in the second tier – he has the predatory instincts in the penalty area to turn many chances into goals.
And with Stoke seemingly crying out for someone like Austin to lead their line in the second half of the season, a raid on Southampton for the linked-away ace would go some way to strengthening Jones’ side in their quest to mount a Championship promotion push.
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