West Ham co-owner David Gold suggests Southampton are paying new signing Charlie Austin £100,000 a week

South-coast club believe striker's £4m signing from QPR is a bargain, but Upton Park joint-chairman responds to fan on Twitter by suggesting astronomical wages could prove otherwise

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The Independent Football

West Ham joint-chairman David Gold has cast doubt over Charlie Austin’s value to Southampton from QPR, claiming his transfer is not a bargain ‘if his wages are £100,000 a week’.

Austin completed his £4m move to St Mary’s from the west-London club at the weekend, with Southampton believing they have bought a prolific goal-scorer.

Austin netted 18 times last season for Rangers - although he was unable to save them from relegation – and has already hit 10 in the Championship this campaign.

West Ham were linked with a £15m move for Austin last summer but had reservations about the forward. A West Ham fan on Sunday Tweeted to Gold: “4 mill is a bargain Austin is a brilliant player one of the best English strikers there is right now.”

Gold responded: “Is he a bargain if his wages are £100,000 per week?”

Austin was one of QPR’s highest earners, with the club keen to get him off their wage bill after last season’s relegation. Austin had also been linked with a move to Newcastle United.

Gold’s co-owner, David Sullivan, previously questioned Austin, saying “he wasn’t very good” when the two sides met in the Premier League, and also questioning the former Burnley forward’s fitness after a knee injury earlier in his career.

Austin’s goalscoring record, however, is exemplary. He hit 45 goals in just over two years at Burnley and 37 in less than two seasons at Swindon Town.

Austin was in the stands to watch Southampton’s 3-0 win over West Brom on Saturday.