Southampton’s transformation under Ralph Hasenhuttl has seen a clear shift towards a high-press philosophy with Shane Long and Nathan Redmond preferred to press from the front, leaving Charlie Austin surplus to requirements and edging towards the January exit door.
There was a point when Austin was regarded as the club’s most potent goal scoring threat, but Hasenhuttl seemingly prefers the presence of a quick and diligent centre-forward rather than a natural goal scorer.
The arrival of Danny Ings in the summer had already placed Austin’s place in the team under serious threat, and developments in recent weeks suggest he would be wise to leave before the deadline passes on Thursday.
But Austin’s exit may not leave Hasenhuttl short of an extra option in attack, as Sky Sports journalist Pete Hall has suggested Southampton are hoping to sign Birmingham City’s Che Adams this week.
“Southampton are in talks with Birmingham’s Che Adams, who’s scored 14 goals this season, a number of Premier League clubs are interested, so they’re lining up a replacement.
“It certainly makes sense for Austin to go and, while his stock is still high, there are clubs who could do with a striker like Charlie Austin.”
Birmingham signed Adams from Sheffield United for a measly fee of just £2 million in 2016 and he has blossomed into a fine goal scoring talent in the Championship ever since.
Now 22-years-old, Adams has already bagged 15 times and provided three assists in the Championship this season from 29 appearances.
With his prolific record in mind and his scope for potential at just 22, it is absolutely no surprise that Southampton are in talks over a potential deal.
It’s unlikely that Birmingham will be anything other than incredibly reluctant to let him leave midway through the season, especially while they sit just six points behind Derby in the final playoff position.
But if Southampton are able to pull off a deal which would allow them to replace Austin with Adams it would represent another fantastic progressive step forward under Hasenhuttl,
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