West Ham’s co-owner David Sullivan had admitted that he regrets not taking a chance on signing Southampton striker Charlie Austin when he left QPR earlier this month.

Speaking in West Ham’s matchday programme ahead of their victory over Aston Villa, Sullivan attempted to smooth over the growing animosity between himself and Austin after he’d earlier criticised the 26-year-old when asked about the possibility of signing him.

Michael Steele/Getty Images Sport

Sullivan 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 £12million he was a gamble, with his injury record. However, if his financial demands are reasonable, Southampton have got fantastic value at £4m.

The Hammers’ co-owner went on to say that he would have taken a chance on signing the striker had he known that he was available for such a small fee.

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.

West Ham did add to their striking options after signing Emmanuel Emenike on loan until the end of the season, but a move for Austin would have been a more long-term solution as he would have filled the role of a natural poacher that former Everton man Nikica Jelavić has failed to nail down since his arrival in September.