All Saints: Charlie Austin Edition
Unfortunately for Newcastle supporters who still believe Austin is destined for St James Park he has actually chosen to represent Southampton after the Saint's bought him for a reported four million pounds. This under the radar transfer is probably one of the buys of the window and sees the return of a man who was an FPL hit last season with QPR.
Here is how the former Hoops striker fared last season in a club got relegated. Charlie Austin 2014/15 Club: Queens Park Rangers Appearances: 35 Goals: 18 Assists: 8 Penalty Misses: 2 Yellow Cards: 4 Red Cards: 1 Bonus: 22pts Total Points: 176pts
It is safe to say that he was a staple for their season, he was the outlet of most QPR goals and for a forward has a good number of assists to compliment his goals, with twenty six attacking returns throughout the course of the previous season. Currently selected by no players this season Charlie starts at £7.0mil which is between Pelle and Long's valuation, in hindsight everyone would have assumed the Englishman would have been valued higher because of the impact he had in his last season. The feeling is that the FPL don't know if Austin is going to be starting games, which is the purpose of this article. Is Charlie Austin worth the gamble?
Here are some thinking points before you go investing, Austin has a lot to offer but it is noteworthy to mention that there are dangers of going into this transfer blind. Number One:
With Shane Long on some good form it asks the question will Austin be the top striking choice? Pelle is to come back from injury so it is unknown who sits at top of the Saint's pecking order. Seeing him start on the bench or not at all is more than likely. He is new to the team and may spend some time on the bench to begin with, adapting and learning the Southampton way. Home & Away:
Southampton themselves are a team struggling for away form, so even if he starts every game will Austin be a home player who obtains most his points at St Mary's? At QPR he scored big whenever they played in the tight confines of Loftus Road.
Charlie Austin has had niggling injuries and may even be injured before his first game, it might be a precaution to hold off his debut, this is a long term signing so there is no rush for Koeman to start him. Penalties:
Charlie Austin was QPR's main penalty taker, but he is adept at all types of goals which is encouraging, especially headers. The question this begs is will James Ward Prowse be on penalty duties, or Dusan Tadic, or will Austin's terms include the right to take penalties? A large part of his appeal spawned because he took all of QPR's penalty kicks, if he isn't on penalties the risk factor increases. Set Pieces:
In Southampton's team Austin will be nowhere near free kicks or set pieces unlike a lot of strikers. He is more likely to be the target man or poacher which is in itself a positive as he is always in the box to pick up loose balls.
Because he is new to the team he may either be a substitute to start off his career or get controlled game time for the other strikers/attackers in the Saint's forward setup. His minutes might be managed and it will be difficult to judge accurately if he will start or not. Good Fit:
One of the most obvious things to forget is whether or not Austin will actually be an asset to Southampton, for all we know he may or may not make the cut. Looking at his strength's and weaknesses are in the context of time at QPR, not Southampton. Take for example Adam Lallana, the English attacker was amazing at Southampton and a valuable FPL option, but at Liverpool he is exactly the opposite.
Verdict To be the best fantasy managers you can be you must be aware of everything that surrounds a player. Sergio Aguero is only as good as the team around him, just look at Chelsea this season. For Austin to thrive at Southampton you must ask will there be a platform for him to succeed? Will he take penalties? Will they give him the right delivery in the box? Southampton are usually good at this kind of service but you never know if they change the way they play to accommodate a player like Austin, they have the experience of playing with Pelle who is very similar to Charlie'd play style so it could be a fruitful purchase for the Saint's. Jumping on the first hype train that comes your way is always a risk, everyone was excited about Benteke at Liverpool but over time his representation plummeted after he failed to live up to the hype. You could apply the same caution to Charlie for a number of reasons. There are a lot of variables to consider for Charlie Austin, in an ideal world he should start and be taking all the penalties if fit. This would make him a valid FPL option and great alternative to the existing pool of strikers currently roaming the Premier League. This is now a test of patience to find out where Austin fits into the rest of the squad. There have been rumors about Pelle leaving Southampton which would make FPL managers more calm in selecting him, but nobody knows the answers to anyone's questions. The best thing to do is give it a couple weeks, because Austin is price in similar positions to established strikers for this season it is safe to select Vardy and Ighalo over him. Until his role is realized The Hype Train expects him to stay as a wildcard on the fringes of small ownership. The biggest factor of all is if he is taking the penalties, this was crucial to his selection last season and if he does not stake this claim then it is a huge gamble to select him. Time will tell with Charlie Austin, but it is a welcome addition back to the Fantasy Premier League. All aboard?