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Are Villa set to lose out on a youth star?

As a striker’s contract runs out, Villa may get next to nothing.

Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Is another young Villan set to go? Seems like it could happen.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy’s contract runs out at the end of this campaign and he can sign a deal with a new team in January... But January could also be when RHM is given his opportunity in the first team as some of the attacking core head off to the African Cup of Nations.

But, as usual, things aren't quite that simple when it comes to following Aston Villa.

Hepburn-Murphy became the youngest Aston Villa senior player in the Premier League era when he entered a match in March 2015 at the age of 16. But -- despite his ability to score as part of the youth and reserve teams -- the now 18-year-old RHM has never been a steady figure in the team.

Contract talks have been on going -- but Dr Tony Xia seems to see the writing on the wall.

The call to the FA is a reference to the rules that allow Scottish teams to pick up young players from England at Blue Light Special prices. The example Birmingham Mail uses is Jordan Rossiter -- who valued at around £8 million at Liverpool -- but Rangers signed him for just £250k when his contract expired.

Will Hepburn-Murphy sign on the dotted line? Should he? If I was in his corner -- no.

Don't get me wrong -- as a Villa fan I want him to sign and to come good with the senior team. But this is a striker who is looking up the depth chart at Kodjia, McCormack, Ayew, Adomah, Gestede, and it seems like Gabby. Even with the African Cup departures -- RHM can't be certain that he is going to get on the pitch. And if you are behind Gabby -- it may be time to look for greener pastures.