Karlan Grant was ruled out for six weeks with a foot injury earlier in January and Hal Robson-Kanu is still out with a wrist injury, so Callum Robinson is Sam Allardyce’s only viable centre-forward option until a new face is brought in. Why, then, was Austin allowed to leave without a replacement being lined up?
Although the 31-year-old hasn’t commanded a starting place under Slaven Bilic or Allardyce this season, he featured in five of Albion’s last six Premier League games before leaving, playing 45 minutes in the 4-0 defeat to Arsenal at the start of this month. [Transfermarkt]
Robinson is now the only fit striker available to Allardyce, but he has only found the back of the net twice in the Premier League and hasn’t scored since September (Transfermarkt).
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West Brom are on the hunt for a striker and have looked at Ahmed Musa, Cenk Tosun, Josh Windass, Josh King, Kasper Junker and Stéphane Bahoken, but letting Austin go before recruiting another centre-forward wasn’t the smartest move for a side with only 11 goals in 17 league games.
Allardyce experimented with Matheus Pereira up front in Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Blackpool and the Brazilian netted from the penalty spot, but he has not scored from open play since July, so he seems unlikely to shoulder the scoring burden.
If the Baggies’ goalscoring woes continue and Austin replicates the kind of form which saw him net 18 Premier League goals for QPR six years ago, Allardyce could live to rue the decision to sanction the striker’s loan exit.