Back in the middle of the January transfer window of 2016, Southampton secured the signing of striker Charlie Austin on a four-and-a-half year deal.
The 29-year-old had been playing his football at Queens Park Rangers in the three years prior to making the move to St Mary’s, in which time he certainly proved his credentials as a goal-scorer in netting at least ten goals in each of his three seasons at Loftus Road.
And with 18 goals in their ill-fated Premier League campaign of 2014/15, the Englishman had also proven his worth at top-flight level, which is why several Southampton supporters back in 2016 were particularly excited to see Austin sign for their club…
— Sam (@Gibbo_Sam) January 16, 2016
— Olivier (@OlivierKGooner) January 16, 2016
— Emma Lewis (@lewpylew78) January 16, 2016
— Jack (@LesReedOut) January 16, 2016
— Andy knight (@AndyApgk66) January 16, 2016
— David Warner (@DavidWarner23) January 16, 2016
— Rick H (@rick_harris1) January 16, 2016
And while things haven’t been entirely plain sailing for the 29-year-old at St Mary’s, Austin has been prolific when fit and on the field, which is why those Saints fans were right to be excited when the Englishman made the move to the South Coast.
Ultimately, Southampton were seen to have pulled off quite the coup in luring Austin to the club for just £4 million (as per BBC), which given he bagged 18 times in the Premier League for QPR less than 12 months earlier represented quite the bargain.
And while he netted on his debut in victory over Manchester United back in 2016, injuries have decimated his time at St Mary’s, with the striker managing just 59 appearances in the last two-and-a-half years, of which just 28 have been starts.
Yes, his tally of 18 goals for the Saints in that time suggests that when on the field, Austin has more often than not produced the goods, but there have been too many occasions whereby a fine run of form, be it in autumn of 2016 or winter of 2017, has been interrupted by injury.
Yet it’s clear from their goal-scoring woes last term that Southampton are still heavily reliant on the Englishman given he finished the season as the club’s joint top-scorer alongside Dusan Tadic with seven – he also finished top of that chart the campaign before.
Thus, while Saints fans are likely to have been frustrated by the 29-year-old during his time at St Mary’s, it’s clear that he remains a vital part of the squad, so while the excitement generated from Southampton supporters in 2016 hasn’t quite filtered into something big, they were right to be thrilled at the addition of the striker.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!