According to the Daily Mail, Cardiff City are now leading the race to sign reported Derby County target Charlie Austin ahead of the 5pm transfer window deadline.

The West Bromwich Albion striker has been heavily linked with an exit.

According to Rob Dorsett at Sky Sports, Derby were in talks to sign the 31-year-old last week as the Rams stepped up their efforts to bring in a new striker.

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

Football Insider went one further, claiming Rams captain Wayne Rooney personally called the Baggies man in an attempt to lure him to the Pride Park club.

West Brom, however, seemingly wanted one in first. But now they have added Karlam Grant for £15 million from Huddersfield Town, Austin could be on his way.

But in a surprise twist, Derby may not be Austin’s destination. Cardiff City have emerged as transfer rivals, with the Daily Mail calling the Bluebirds favourites.

The news comes after Cardiff also became favourites ahead of Derby in the race to sign Wales international winger Harry Wilson on a loan deal from Liverpool.

Derby appear in danger of finishing the deadline day without a key arrival.

And many supporters have been left somewhat confused by the club’s decision to allow Jack Marriott to leave on loan as the striker joins Sheffield Wednesday.

Unfortunately, Derby just haven’t been in a strong position to make signings.

Huddersfield Town v West Bromwich Albion - Sky Bet Championship
(Photo by Adam Fradgley – AMA/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Austin, who earns £70,000 per week at West Brom, may have turned out to be an expensive loan but his experience leading the line is second to none.

The former Southampton man netted ten league goals as West Brom earned promotion last term, while in 2013-14 he posted 17 goals during QPR’s promotion campaign.

Also see: Report: Derby keen on ‘unbelievable’ Everton man but two Championship rivals also hold talks

Also see: Report: Derby and Boro hold talks to sign player Mourinho called ‘very good’, loan deal expected

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