Wayne Rooney has been in personal contact with West Brom striker Charlie Austin in a bid to lure him to Derby County, Football Insider can reveal.
The England and Man United legend is playing an increasingly hands-on role in Derby transfers as his influence at the club grows.
A Derby source has told Football Insider this has extended to Rooney’s attempts to help the club clinch the signing of Austin by Friday’s transfer cut-off for domestic deals.
The Championship big guns are keen to strengthen their attack and have identified the 31-year-old as a proven performer capable of regularly scoring goals.
Austin is set to slip further down the pecking order at the Hawthorns as they work on recruiting at least one striker by Friday.
Trading is allowed between Premier League and EFL clubs up until 5pm on Friday after a short window for domestic-only deals was agreed in this unique year.
Rooney has the connections and gravitas to persuade players to join the ambitious second-tier club as they push hard for promotion this summer.
He has played against Austin many times, and is well aware the forward is not really involved much at the Hawthorns.
Austin has not had a minute of Premier League action this season and his only two appearances have come in the League Cup.
An injury to Hal Robson-Kanu means Slaven Bilic is stalling on letting him go – permanently or on loan – but that is likely to change if one or two strikers are recruited this week.