European Cup winners join Rangers target race as contract saga continues
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

European Cup winners join Rangers target race as contract saga continues

Rangers face competition from former European Cup winners Nottingham Forest when it comes to the signature of out-of-contract Hearts defender John Souttar.

That’s according to Alan Nixon and The Sun (print: 05/12/21, p.59), who claim Steve Cooper wants to take the Scottish international to the City Ground and the English Championship.

Out of contract Hearts star John Souttar is a reported target for the likes of Rangers, Celtic and now Nottingham Forest. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Forest aren’t the only ones south of the border reportedly expressing an interest either; both Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City have been extensively mentioned amongst a range of clubs with the Daily Record claiming John Souttar would prefer a move to England.

Up north, Rangers and Old Firm rivals Celtic are also said to have one eye on the situation surrounding John Souttar as he continues to impress at Tynecastle.

John Souttar one of Scottish football’s form players this season

The 25-year-old defender has seen his career interrupted by a series of challenging injuries but now the highly-rated centre-back is finding his feet in the game.

John Souttar has been a pivotal part of the Hearts side who’re emerging as Scotland’s third force this season and has played 18 times for the Jambos, even scoring three goals.

Souttar has also seen his career resurrected on the international stage and scored on his comeback appearance for the Scotland national team in a 2-0 World Cup Qualifying win over Denmark.

Reported Nottingham Forest and Rangers target John Souttar scores for Scotland against Denmark. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Once again impressing in Hearts’ recent and unfortunate 1-0 defeat to Celtic at Parkhead, the defender caught the eye of Gers fans and there is increasing support for a move.

However, it remains unclear what John Souttar wants to do and at the minute the defender continues to go from strength to strength with Hearts.

Is John Souttar a viable Connor Goldson alternative?

Links to John Souttar also come at an interesting juncture for Rangers as much speculation continues to persist surrounding vice-captain and influential centre-back Connor Goldson.

Goldson, 28, is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal and like John Souttar, can sign a new one elsewhere as he enters the final months of his deal.

An important asset to Rangers who at times has underperformed this season, there’s an increasing frustration amongst supporters but the Ibrox club are said to be relaxed about the situation.

Rangers have also rebuffed suggestions the defender has rejected a new deal with the feeling persisting that Connor will consider his options in January.

John Souttar may prove a genuinely viable alternative to Goldson for a number of reasons.

Is Connor Goldson going to commit to Rangers or should the club cash in this January? (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Not only is John Souttar a talented centre-back who is good on the ball – much like Goldson – but given Souttar is a homegrown player the defender would also beef out any registration quota for European competition.

Also available on a low-cost fee – and especially if Connor Goldson leaves in January – we could certainly do much worse than look towards the at-times talismanic Hearts star.

John Souttar also isn’t the only centre-back being linked to Rangers with many tipping GVB to consider dipping into the Eredivisie market and reigniting links from the summer.