Hearts have reportedly set their asking price for defender and January Rangers target John Souttar with the Scotland international set to be handed an early chance to win over Ibrox fans.
The Gers have already agreed a pre-contract with the 25-year-old but a January move to sign the defender was booted out ahead of the weekend.
John Souttar was then dropped for Hearts’ 5-0 victory over Auchinleck Talbot – with manager Robbie Neilson citing an ankle injury – before confirming a bid for the player had been made.
Amid reports that the offer from Rangers was around £300k, former Hearts manager and director Craig Levein has just claimed that it will take at least double that to sign the defender in January.
“I have heard [Hearts’ asking price] is more than double the £300,000 offer that they were reportedly holding out for,” said Levein [BBC Sportsound].
“He is under contract. They are quite within their right.
“If they don’t want to let him go for the money that Rangers are offering then John will just have to suck it up and play as well as he can until the end of the season. It is as simple as that.”
Pre-contract Rangers signing John Souttar to return for Hearts v Celtic
Naturally, that £600k figure has been scoffed at by Rangers fans who are unsure about making such an investment given John Souttar will join the ranks of Ibrox come the summer.
The news also comes amid reports John Souttar is set to return to the Hearts’ squad for the visit of Celtic in the Scottish Premiership [Herald].
Ange Postecoglou’s side are ravaged by injuries and travel to Tynecastle after suffering defeat in the first game of the season at the Edinburgh ground.
As Rangers face off against Livingston at Ibrox, fans will have one eye on events at Tynecastle and John Souttar has an early chance to win over Gers supporters against the Parkhead team.
No matter what happens, Souttar will be a Rangers player come the summer and by engineering a second Hearts win over Celtic this season it’ll go someway to endearing himself to the bears.
John Souttar has previous against Celtic too – the Hearts defender nodded in the winner in that 2-1 Jambos victory in August.
Meanwhile, Rangers look set to miss out on one reported target as a Euro club’s Champions League millions tell.