According to Sky Sports, Southampton turned down loan offers for striker Charlie Austin from a number of Premier League clubs on transfer deadline day.
The Saints were right to reject these advances and keep the 29-year-old on the books at St Mary’s Stadium, as the 6’2” striker can still have an impact for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s squad between now and the end of the season.
Whilst Danny Ings is the Saints’ first choice striker, and for good reason, there are several reasons why the south coast club would not want to be without Austin.
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Whilst Austin isn’t currently enjoying his most prolific top flight campaign, he does offer a physicality and robustness in the final third that Ings cannot match. What’s more, he also has the versatility to drop deeper and play a more creative role for his team.
With Ings’ fitness history taken into account, Southampton were wise not to allow themselves to be deprived of Austin’s services in January.
With Southampton still mired in the thick of the relegation dogfight, the need to pick up points will only become more desperate between now and the end of the season. On certain occasions, Hasenhuttl’s preferred tactic will prove unsuccessful, at which point having a back-up plan is vital.
Austin, with his aerial prowess and power can come on and play as a target man, offering exactly the kind of alternative route to goal that the Saints will have been searching for.
By hanging onto Austin in January, the Saints retained the services of the best back-up plan they currently have on their books.