Saints Let England Man Leave As Ralph Prunes Squad

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England international Charlie Austin has been told he can leave St Mary’s as new Southampton boss Ralph Hasselhutl prunes his squad, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The news prompted West Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa to make their interest in the striker known.

Austin is unable to force his way into Austrian coach’s starting line-up and is keen to move in his search for regular football. With only two league goals to his name, Hassenhutl’s arrival in December signalled the end of the Poole-born striker’s time on the South Coast.

The former RB Leipzig coach is determined to reduce the number of players in his squad and allowed Manolo Gabbiadini to return to his native Italy with Sampdoria in a loan deal which will become a permanent move in the summer.

Others who left St Mary’s this month include Cedric Soares in a similar deal with Inter Milan while Wesley Hoedt is at Celta Vigo on loan.

Austin’s contract expires in 2020 and Southampton are keen to recoup a fee now. Aston Villa are concerned by reports that Tammy Abraham is being touted by parent club Chelsea. Wolves were among those keen to sign the young England international this winter to cement their place in the mid-table group of clubs in the Premier League.