Report: Rangers scout Aston Villa starlet, plan to exploit contract loophole
By Amir Mir
Rangers are keeping a close eye on Aston Villa youngster Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, according to a report.
The Birmingham Mail claim the 18-year-old striker has been offered a new contract with the Championship side, but is yet to agree terms, which has alerted other clubs to his availability.
Hepburn-Murphy is the Midlands giants youngest ever Premier League player, when he made his debut aged 16 years and 176 days, as a seven-minute substitute against Sunderland in 2015.
It is said the Glasgow giants have watched the club’s youngest ever player in action, and Rangers could swoop for the player in a pre-contract agreement, as early as January, if a new deal is not signed with Villa.
Additionally, Mark Warburton has admitted that he intends to continue exploiting the controversial loophole that enabled him to lure exciting young English players to Ibrox this season.
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It is said due to cross-border transfer regulations, Scottish sides can bring English players under 24 for a fraction of the price Premier League or Football League clubs have to pay.
Liverpool academy graduate Jordan Rossister was valued at £8million by the Merseyside club, but was signed for only £250,000 by Rangers when his contract expired.
Now, Hepburn-Murphy is the latest player under consideration following his impressive start to the season.
He was named Premier League 2 player of the month for September, and has already scored four goals this term.
Recently-sacked Villa manager Roberto Di Matteo brought him on as a late substitute during the 1-1 draw against Newcastle in September.
In other Aston Villa transfer news, supporters provided mixed views on Twitter as Paul Lambert closes in on Wolves role.