Charlie Austin: Southampton sign QPR striker

Charlie Austin
Austin has scored 130 goals since joining Swindon Town in 2009

Southampton have signed QPR striker Charlie Austin for a fee reported to be about £4m.

The 26-year-old has joined the Saints on a four-and-a-half-year contract after passing a medical.

Austin scored 18 Premier League goals as QPR were relegated last season, and was rewarded with an England call-up.

"He was our target for January. The number of goals he's scored in the Premier League is amazing," said Saints manager Ronald Koeman.

"We are looking forward to having him in the squad, and having more competition. That will be good."

Southampton striker Shane Long has been linked with a move to Liverpool, but Koeman said "nobody is for sale in January".

"At the end of the season, you don't know, but not now," he added. "We like to make the squad stronger. That means Charlie in, nobody out."

Former Burnley player Austin, whose contract at Loftus Road was due to expire in the summer, has scored 10 goals in 16 appearances this season.

But he has not featured for Rangers, who are 17th in the Championship, since mid-December because of injury.

QPR director of football Les Ferdinand said the decision to sell Austin was "made in the best financial interests of the club" as he could leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Austin, who has scored 130 goals since joining Swindon Town in 2009, will join up with his new team-mates next week.

He joins a side 10th in the Premier League after Saturday's 3-0 defeat of West Brom.

"As soon as Southampton showed an interest that was the one club I wanted to go to," said Austin, who was linked with a move to Newcastle last summer.

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger told BBC Radio 5 live the signing demonstrated "the love we have for maintaining an English spine in the team".

He added: "He has been tracked by us for years now. He's a young player, and we think he still has a huge learning curve and he's still hungry to play for England."

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