Both are very good players but from what I have seen, Ings is the more complete player of the two. He's also younger so he could develop to be even better. Taking nothing away from Austin though, he's a fantastic player and has had a great season.
I'd rather take Charlie Austin at Southampton. Purely because we're missing a natural goal scorer. We've got a lot of Ings' qualities in the attacking roles, but with Pelle's goals drying up in 2015 we've lacked an instinctive finisher and in that we've also lacked goals. I didn't realise Austin was only 25 either until I checked up on him after we've been linked with him. He's been tormenting us for years now, since the League 1 days when he was at Swindon. He's played against us seven times and only failed to score twice.
My only problem with Austin is that it was reported that he had rejected a £60,000 p/w contract from QPR earlier in the season. We can't offer wages like that.
Austin is the better player for me. A more natural goalscorer and I think the other parts of his game are really underrated too.
It'd be shame to see Ings get gobbled up by a Liverpool just because he's on a free though, it'd be far more preferable for him to go to someone like Southampton or Swansea for a couple of years at least.
One player produced by Bournemouth and the other coming up via Poole Town!
As has been said, they're different players, so it would depend what sort of attacker your team needs more. If there was ever a chance for Ings to return here, we'd certainly take it. Probably the most naturally gifted player our youth ranks have ever seen (so our head of youth reckons).
Ings might represent better value as he'll be a lot cheaper than Austin, but fat Charlie is the better striker I think. It might be a bit unfair to judge given that although both sides have been relegated, based on the games I've seen I'd say QPR play the more attacking football generally so Austin may have had more opportunities over the season. Saying that he does have an excellent conversion ratio.
I actually wouldn't be surprised either if Liverpool did go for both. Sturridge is a rice cracker, Lambert is probably off and Balotelli is Balotelli. With Ings being cheap, the combined fee for both might look quite low on the face of it for two strikers. Then there's always the quota filled further. That'd apply to a lot of clubs looking at them though that have the space for 2.