According to the Athletic, Derby County and Cardiff City target Charlie Austin has likely already played his last game for current club West Bromwich Albion.

The 31-year-old was heavily linked with a move during the transfer window.

Both Derby and Cardiff were interested in the player, while West Brom were open to a loan move as they brought in a new striker in Karlam Grant from Huddersfield Town.

West Bromwich Albion v Harrogate Town - Carabao Cup Second Round
(Photo by Matthew Ashton – AMA/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images)

An exit from the Hawthorns, however, ultimately never materialised.

The Athletic claim Austin was unsure about a move while his wages proved a stumbling block.

But despite West Brom struggling in the Premier League, manager Slaven Bilic won’t recall Austin and the editorial claim he has likely already played his last game for the Baggies.

A move away from the club in January could now be a probable scenario.

Cardiff have underperformed so far this season. The Bluebirds finished fifth last season, but right now they are ten places lower having won just three games.

Neil Harris has a good squad at his disposal. However, with just 12 goals scored, many supporters will feel extra quality upfront could push them up the league table.

Derby, meanwhile, have fared even worse in-front of goal. The Rams have scored just five goals and won once in 11 Championship games to date.

The east Midlands club’s poor form has since cost manager Phillip Cocu his job.

West Bromwich Albion v Brentford - Carabao Cup Third Round
(Photo by Adam Fradgley – AMA/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images)

A new striker is a top priority in January. Austin would be welcome, yet at 31 and on high wages, he doesn’t fit into Derby’s current transfer policy and focus on younger players.

The Rams’ position in the table come January may impact their decision-making in the transfer window, and Austin has been a savour from relegation before.

Also see: ‘Successful year’: International paper lauds £3.5m Derby ace as 2020 breakout star

Also see: ‘Very proud’: Manager at Championship rivals responds to reports linking him to Derby job

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