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Southampton have completed the £4m signing of QPR striker Charlie Austin on a four-and-a-half-year contract.
The 26-year-old originally intended to see his contract out at QPR and move on a free transfer in the summer, but feels a move to a Premier League club in January may bolster his ambitions of making the England squad for this summer’s European Championships.
Austin, who was the fourth-highest goalscorer in the Premier League last season with 18 goals in QPR’s relegation season, hopes to work his way into England manager Roy Hodgson’s plans after receiving a first international call-up last year.
“I’m delighted to have got it over the line so soon into January,” he told the club’s official website, www.saintsfc.co.uk. “I can’t wait to get started now.
“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.”
Austin has not played for a month, after sustaining a hamstring problem following his brace against Brighton in a 2-2 draw on 15 December, but still has amassed 10 goals in 16 Championship appearances this season.
QPR director of football Les Ferdinand says the deal represents good business for the club, despite their turning down a £12m bid from Leicester for the former bricklayer last July.
“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,” he said.
“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.”