Harry Styles could follow in Zayn Malik's footsteps by quitting One Direction as the singer has signed a solo contract with Columbia Records. Since the boy band began their hiatus in December 2015, fans have worried it could be the end for the British group, and now fresh rumours are rife that Styles will be the second member to leave.

Details of Styles' reported contract, including a release date for his debut album, are yet to be revealed but it is a solo venture without bandmates Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne, Billboard says. The Columbia Records move comes after Styles, 22, reportedly registered four songs with the American Society Of Composers, Authors and Publishers in December 2015.

At the time, The Telegraph reported that Styles listed himself as solo performer of songs 5378 Miles, Already Home, Endlessly and Coco. Snow Patrol rocker Johnny McDaid also confirmed Styles' solo material by telling The Associated Press in May 2016: "I've been friends with Harry for a long time, and we've written together a lot. Harry is a really prolific artist and a super-talented guy.

"He's really authentic and he has an incredible voice, so we've been writing a lot of songs. We've been writing songs for years together. I'm really excited by the way he's sounding at the minute, he's such a talent. I think the world is going to be really shocked at what he comes up with."

Fuelling speculation that Styles will leave One Direction, the Worcestershire-born star is gearing up for the release of his first movie Dunkirk. The WWII movie boasts a star-studded cast including Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy and Mark Rylance, and will feature Styles playing a soldier.

It could be the beginning for the singer's acting career as reports have suggested he is a favourite to star as Mick Jagger in a film about the making of The Rolling Stones' album Exile On Main Street. A source allegedly told the Daily Star: "He's about 10 years too young but make-up and special effects can sort that out."

One Direction
One Direction members Harry Styles, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson, have worked on their solo projects throughout 2016 Kevin Winter / Getty