Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has provided an update on Rangers-linked defender John Souttar as the January transfer window nears [Edinburgh Evening News].
Rangers have been linked with Souttar for some time and his current contract is set to expire at the end of the season.
It has been suggested that the Scotland international would be available for £500k in January [the Daily Mail [17/11/21, print edition p.78] but in an apparent blow for the Gers’ hopes, the Daily Record reported earlier this week that his next move will likely be to England, with a host of EFL Championship clubs keen on his signature.
Souttar will soon be able to start negotiating possible pre-contract deals elsewhere, but Hearts haven’t given up hope of holding onto him just yet.
“From our perspective, he’s here until the end of the season unless we get a bid that we can’t refuse,” said Neilson [Edinburgh Evening News].
“Hopefully, within that time, we can negotiate a new contract. The owner and Joe Savage have been speaking to him and we’ve made him a really good offer, so it’s just a case of trying to negotiate that.
“He’s still a Hearts player and we’ve had good negotiations with him. We’ll try as hard as we can to get him to stay. 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.”
Rangers kept a Europa League clean sheet against Sparta Prague on Thursday night but there have been plenty of defensive issues this season and it would be a surprise if GvB wasn’t thinking about trying to strengthen in that area.
Connor Goldson and Leon Balogun are both out of contract at the end of the season, while Filip Helander is currently injured and Jack Simpson has failed to make an impression since joining from Bournemouth in January.
Given that he’s only 25, in a rich vein of form and has experience of the league, Souttar would be a strong addition to the playing group at Ibrox but there may well be too much competition for Rangers to pull off a deal.