Rangers win race to sign defender on pre-contract - report
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Rangers win race to sign defender on pre-contract - report

Rangers have won the race to sign Hearts and Scotland defender John Souttar on a pre-contract, according to Sky Sports.

The Gers are one of a number of clubs linked with the Tynecastle star as he enters the final months of his Hearts deal – and the Light Blues are said to have beaten off the likes of Blackburn to secure his signature.

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

With a pre-contract reportedly agreed, Sky Sports also report that the defender is keen to make the move to the champions this month rather than waiting until the summer.

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson claimed earlier this week that it would take a bid the Jambos ‘can’t refuse’ to force him into selling the former Dundee United star this month but that could change now he is reported to have agreed on a summer move to Rangers.

“From our perspective, he’s here until the end of the season unless we get a bid that we can’t refuse,” Neilson said.

“If he does decide it’s time to move on, it will take a huge bid in January for that to happen, or he’ll see out his contract and hopefully leave happy.

“He is a key player who will hopefully help us finish as high up the league as we can and go as far as we can in the cup, so you have to balance off the two sides of it and say ‘what is keeping him [until the end of the season] worth?’ and ‘what is a transfer worth?’

“From my perspective as a coach, I’ll be pushing to keep him here for as long as I can because he’s such a key part of the team.”

While there have been concerns over Souttar’s injury history after a number of issues with his Achilles, the Scotland star has played all but two of Hearts’ Premiership games this season.

With Connor Goldson and Niko Katic looking likely to leave in the summer and Jack Simpson failing to make the grade, Rangers have a real need for defensive reinforcements ahead of next season.

The signing of Souttar is a no-brainer and the defender should be a big success at Rangers when he does finally make the switch across the M8.

Meanwhile, a rival Premiership manager has suggested Rangers are unlikely to snap up transfer target during the January window.