West Ham United co-chairman David Sullivan has revealed he would have signed Charlie Austin if he had known Queens Park Rangers were willing to accept £4m.
Southampton were the club who ultimately ensnared the 26-year-old away from Loftus Road last month and benefitted almost immediately with the England striker scoring a winner at Manchester United on his debut.
Sullivan attracted criticism last August when citing details of Austin’s failed Hull medical to justify his decision not to sign him on several occasions in the previous years. Describing the Saints’ hitman as a ‘big risk’, the Hammers chief has since moved to explain further his comments.
He said: “Our next league game is away at Southampton and I just want to clarify my views on the Charlie Austin situation.
“Contrary to reports, he is a player I have always greatly admired and his climb through the divisions is inspiring.
“I once said at £12m he was a gamble, with his injury record. However, if his financial demands are reasonable, Southampton have got fantastic value at £4m.
“Had I known he was available at that price, I would have taken the gamble myself — and I am sure half the Premier League clubs would have as well.”