We’re delighted to welcome former West Brom striker Kevin Phillips as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at The Hawthorns…
Kevin Phillips believes that Charlie Austin could have his sights set on leaving West Brom to head to the MLS in January.
Earlier this month, The Sun reported that Austin, 31, would be open to a move to the USA in the January transfer window with a number of MLS clubs interested in signing him.
Since Albion won promotion to the Premier League, Austin has failed to appear in the Premier League and not made any of Slaven Bilic’s last five matchday squads in the top-flight.
It must be frustrating for the striker to not get any game-time and while Phillips would rather not see him head to the States, he can understand why that would be an option.
“I don’t like players at that age to disappear to abroad where it’s more comfortable but I understand why,” Phillips told West Brom News.
“It can be lucrative. The lifestyle in America can be amazing.
“I had chances to do that at that stage of my career but I opted to stay in the Championship, which for me is the fifth or sixth best league in the world.
“I would like to see Austin stay and challenge but if he went to America, I could see the reasoning behind it and if he did I’d wish him all the best.
“But at the moment he can’t go anywhere so I’d like to think he’ll show a great attitude in and around the training ground, knuckle down and be a good influence at the football club.”
Austin has played just twice this season and both of those appearances came in the Carabao Cup when he started – and failed to impress – in the win over Harrogate and came off the bench for the latter stages of the penalty shoot-out loss to Brentford.
Austin scored his spot-kick against the Bees, which served as a reminder of the good that the ex-Southampton forward did at The Hawthorns last season.
It’s easy to forget that Austin was the Baggies’ top goalscorer in all competitions last term and he scored some massive goals against the likes of Preston, Wigan and Birmingham.
While we wouldn’t mind seeing the forward moved on in January to get him off the wage bill, that money must be used to strengthen the squad again.
West Brom’s decision to sell Ahmed Hegazi to Al-Ittihad has raised funds and a potential move to the USA for Austin could do the same.
In other West Brom news, Steve Madeley has shared an update on the money Barcelona owe the Baggies for Louie Barry.