Crewe director of football Dario Gradi believes that the future of striker Max Clayton lies away from Gresty Road.
The 19-year-old has scored 14 goals in 77 games since coming through the Alex's youth ranks, but his current deal expires at the end of this season.
"I tried to persuade him and his dad he'd be better to sign another contract here," Gradi told BBC Radio Stoke.
"But they'd obviously made up their mind that their next contract would be somewhere else."
He added: "He's playing his contract out, or he'll go this year with his mind on other things."
Gradi has had a 30-year association with Crewe, which has included two managerial spells, and helped the club develop a reputation for bringing through talented youngsters.
However, he feels that Clayton's contract situation is a product of the culture surrounding modern football.
"Unfortunately that's the way football is these days," the 72-year-old said.
"In previous years the player would have listened and perhaps would have put a bit of trust in me.
"The power of the agents means you don't get to talk to the kids anymore, they don't have an opinion, and they rely on other people doing it for them."