The Daily Mail report that Rangers are interested in Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, whose current deal expires next summer, raises some interesting questions.
According to the newspaper, Villa are currently at an impasse in terms of talks of a new deal. Of course, there’s no rush currently to tie him down with Villa’s own future uncertain in terms of next season, and there’s also the fact that the Rangers link may be an agent ruse to force the issue with Villa to conclude a deal quick-smart for their client.
The basis of the report’s Ranger link is that Scottish club have already taken advantage of the FIFA rules that enable out-of-contract players under the age of 24 to move north of the border for minimal compensation.
In the summer, Ranger’s boss Mark Warburton signed Jordan Rossiter from Liverpool and Joe Dodoo from Leicester at a combined cost of £500,000.
The Gabby Factor
Now, it’s certainly interesting that this news has timed with Gabby Agbonlahor’s latest re-emergence back into the Villa first team.
After Hepburn-Murphy impressed in pre-season, where he was one of the team’s best performers during the summer, the 18-year-old striker perhaps expected more of a role in the first team squad this term.
Since, Villa have spent big in upgrading their strike options when they bought Jonathan Kodija and Ross McCormack, but Hepburn-Murphy would have still seen the possibility of making a few match day squads, which he has done.
But with Steve Bruce now picking Agbonlahor, this may put question marks in Hepburn-Murphy’s mind as to his future.
With his diminutive statute, speed and finishing, Hepburn-Murphy reminds MOMS a little of Michael Owen, who was making a big impact already when he was 18.
With the African Nations Cup in just over a couple of months time seeing Villa lose Jonathan Kodjia, Albert Adomah and Jordan Ayew, next January would be the idea time to give Hepburn-Murphy more of a platform to prove himself. But will Bruce play the Gabby card instead, if the club doesn’t see fit to loan in reinforcements in the January window?
Surely, if Hepburn-Murphy is a true talent ala Owen, he should be able to do a job and deserves a chance?
It’ll certainly be interesting to watch the plot unravel, as it adds yet another question to the several currently unanswered ones of Villa’s forward-line.
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