By Noel Whelan

13th Aug, 2019 | 5:49pm

'A lot of money' - Exclusive: Whelan claims Bilic has 'difficult' dilemma over West Brom star


Noel Whelan has claimed that West Brom manager Slaven Bilic has got a dilemma to contend with over the fitness of Charlie Austin this season.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds United striker and Championship expert says that the 30-year-old has the potential to be a game-changing player for the Baggies but that he has got to be firing on all cylinders.

Austin swapped Southampton and the Premier League for a Championship campaign at West Brom in a deadline day move.

Whelan says that Austin’s capture was the big move Bilic was looking for all summer and that it could be a hefty outlay for someone who has a history of fitness and injury problems.

“Keeping him fit is the biggest issue, but you’ve also just paid a multi-million-pound price tag for a player,” Whelan told Football Insider.

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“That is a lot of money to be managing a player throughout the season. You pay that money, you want a player who’s going to be fit, ready to go for 45, 46 games.

“He’s their main signing so it’s a difficult one because he will make a difference. You want a fit Charlie Austin, that’s the problem.”

Austin played 27 times for Southampton last season, managing to score just three goals as he played a backup role to the starting XI.

His record in the Championship stands at 66 goals in 129 appearances, having led the line for the likes of QPR and Burnley.

In other West Brom news, Danny Mills has told Football Insider the Baggies cannot expect one of their new signings to “run too often.”