A transfer is reported to be in the works that could have implications for the Irish contingent at Southampton.
According to The Telegraph, Charlie Austin has been told that he can leave the club this month, with Premier League high-flyers Wolves and Championship side Aston Villa said to be interested.
Austin has played just once in 2019, having served a ban for an offensive gesture made at Manchester City fans. But while Danny Ings is undoubtedly the main striker at the club, Austin has been considered second choice.
The 29-year-old’s impending departure may offer Shane Long an opportunity for more game-time.
The Irishman recently broke a long dry-spell against Leicester City, and has featured both starting and off the bench with more frequency.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhüttl may well consider a replacement for Austin, but could also promote the likes of Sam Gallagher. Another possibility is young Irish star Michael Obafemi.
The 18-year-old scored his first Premier League goal against Huddersfield Town last month, but has yet to appear for Southampton since. With the Saints mired in a relegation battle, the Irish attacking duo could yet have a critical role to play in the club’s season.