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Barcelona to allow Sandro to leave


Charlie Austin signs for Southampton from QPR for reported fee of £4m

Southampton have announced the signing of QPR striker Charlie Austin for a fee reported to be £4 million.

Austin, 26, netted 18 goals in 36 games for QPR in 2014-15 before the club were relegated and, with his contract expiring in the summer, has opted to move on.

Austin has signed a deal until 2020 and will join up with his new teammates next week.

"I'm delighted to have got it over the line so soon into January. I can't wait to get started now," he told the club website. "As soon as Southampton showed an interest that was the one club I wanted to go to.

"You see the progression from when I was playing against Southampton for Swindon. For me, it was important to come to a club that's on the up and that's what I've got here."

Saints manager Ronald Koeman, whose team easily beat West Brom 3-0 on Saturday with Austin in the stands, said the QPR player was their top target in January and thanked the board for bringing him in.

"I hope he will bring goals, that's why he was our target for this transfer window,'' Koeman said.

"I think we need a player like him, everybody knows his number of goals. He's still only 26 and it's good to have him in now. It's good for the other players and it's good to see what his physical state is.

"He gives us more competition. We are always trying to make the squad stronger and signing that sort of player is very important.

"Every Premier League team has competition. And at the moment Graziano Pelle is still not 100 percent fit, Jay Rodriguez is not training, so if something happened to Shane Long we'd have no one up front.

"Now we are also prepared for next season. He is here now and it's good for the boy. He needs to adapt to how we work and he'll know everything for next season.''

Saints certainly appear to have picked up a bargain, with relegated Rangers asking £15 million for Austin last summer.

But Koeman added: "I don't talk about money, that's not my job. We said to the board that he was the No.1 target and I'm very pleased Charlie is a Southampton player.''

James Ward-Prowse
James Ward-Prowse scored twice for Southampton as new signing Charlie Austin watched on from the stands.

Les Reed, Southampton's executive director of football, added: "We are very happy to be able to welcome Charlie to the club. Coming after Wednesday's morale-boosting home victory, this signing is an indicator of our intent to finish the season strongly and continue the progress we've made in the last few years.

"Charlie shares that ambition. He has a fantastic goal-scoring pedigree, but remains hungry to improve and develop as a footballer -- something that convinced him that Southampton is the ideal next step in his career.

"Having had a taste of Premier League football and his first call-up to the England squad last season, he is determined to establish himself at the highest level of the game.

"Bringing Charlie here is a show of the club's commitment to its plan for future success through investment in talent with a desire to grow and develop."

QPR director of football, Les Ferdinand said: "It's no secret that Charlie is out of contract in the summer so this is a decision made in the best financial interests of the club.

"Charlie has had a significant impact on this football club in his time here and we are hugely grateful to him for his contribution during his spell with us. Whilst we are sorry to lose Charlie, once he expressed an interest in moving to Southampton, we could not stand in his way.''


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