Charlie Austin has claimed that he would consider a move to Celtic or Rangers in the coming months as the striker endures a difficult time at West Bromwich Albion – and Steven Gerrard needs him more than Neil Lennon’s side.
Austin, 30, joined West Brom in the summer of 2019 from Southampton for £4million (BBC) and has since managed nine goals in 30 games for the Baggies – but has started just 17 matches, and has only completed 90 minutes on three separate occasions.
The former Saints and QPR striker is set to enter the final 12 months of his contract at West Brom, and with the striker likely to explore his options in the summer given his lack of starts, he has confirmed he would consider a move to Celtic or Rangers.
“The Old Firm derby is the pull isn’t it to play in Scotland,” Austin told Open Goal, when asked if he would join Rangers or Celtic. “You want to win things as such too. If the opportunity came up would I go? I think so yeah.”
So, which would need Austin more? Celtic certainly could do with a striker. Leigh Griffiths has returned to form but is still a shadow of the player that scored week in week out, while Odsonne Edouard is also in stunning form – but is likely to leave.
Celtic have options up front, though. Patryk Klimala and Vakoun Bayo remain options, though unproven. Lennon could certainly do with a player like Austin, who has netted a decent 34 Premier League goals in 106 top-tier outings.
But Rangers and Steven Gerrard need Austin more. Alfredo Morelos looks more than likely to leave the club, while Jermain Defoe turns 38 in October. Florian Kamberi is another option, but he is only on loan and a permanent deal remains to be seen,
Gerrard needs proven quality week in week out at Ibrox up front, something which veteran Defoe may struggle to do – especially with Rangers’ participation in the Europa League. Rangers need Austin a lot more than Celtic do.
If Austin is available, Gerrard must sign him.