The midfielder verbally agreed terms with the English Premier League club earlier this year and has now put pen to paper on a long-term contract. His move entitles Hearts to a six-figure compensation fee under FIFA rules.
Simpson featured for Hearts Under-18s last season and played in the SFA Youth Cup final defeat to Rangers at Hampden Park. He has chosen to continue his career south of the Border having impressed the Villa manager Steven Gerrard during his time in charge of the Ibrox club.
Hearts sporting director Joe Savage stressed that the move is evidence of the Riccarton youth academy’s ability to hone quality talent. “What this deal shows is that our football academy system is succeeding in nurturing young players and developing them into talented footballers with the potential to go on to big things,” he told the club’s official website.
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“Of course, we want these players to pull on a Hearts shirt and run out at Tynecastle but sometimes circumstances will dictate that they will move on.
“What reassures me, and it should fans too, is that we will always position ourselves to be properly compensated in such situations and, most importantly, that we really do have a crop of extremely talented young players coming through our academy whose goal is to wear that famous maroon jersey.”
Villa also signed 16-year-old Rangers youth striker Rory Wilson this summer as they continue to hunt the best talent across Scotland. They paid Rangers a reported £350,000 in training compensation for Wilson.