The Southampton board would be complete heroes if transfer demand pays off – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…

According to Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre (June 27, 3:34pm), Southampton striker Charlie Austin has been the subject of interest from Premier League rivals Sheffield United, and if the Saints board can sell him for the reported £10m asking price they would deserve all of the praise they get.

What’s the word, then?

Well, Ralph Hasenhuttl has made no secret of the fact that the centre-forward can leave St Mary’s if the right deal can be found for all parties, and Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre (June 27, 3:34pm) report that the Blades could be keen on bringing the 29-year-old north to boost their squad ahead of their top flight return.

However, the report says that the south coast outfit want in the region of £10m for the former Queens Park Rangers man, who cost them £4m when he arrived from Loftus Road back in January 2016 and has one year remaining on his contract.

Austin found first-team minutes hard to come by last term – especially under Hasenhuttl from December onwards as he often found himself behind the likes of Nathan Redmond, Shane Long and Danny Ings in the pecking order – netting twice in 20 Premier League outings.

A chance for the board

Southampton’s hierarchy have had an unstable few years with the managerial appointments of Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino and Mark Hughes failing to work out, while big-money signings such as Wesley Hoedt, Guido Carrillo, Sofiane Boufal and Moi Elyounoussi have ultimately flopped – the former three were sent out on loan during the 2018/19 campaign, while the latter only played 791 Premier League minutes for the south coast side.

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Bringing in Hasenhuttl has got Saints back on the right track, and if the club – who recently confirmed the new structure of their board following the departures of Les Reed and Ralph Krueger in recent months – can bring in £10m for Austin, they would deserve all of the plaudits they can get.

To make a significant profit on a player who has largely failed to deliver at St Mary’s – 20 goals in 81 appearances in all competitions certainly isn’t the best record for a striker – and has had his fair share of injury issues would be more than praiseworthy and further continue the board’s steps towards redemption.

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