Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has suggested that Rangers are unlikely to bring key target John Souttar to Ibrox this month [Scarves Around the Funnel podcast].
Rangers have been extensively linked with Souttar for some time.
It was initially reported that the defender – whose contract is up at the end of the season – preferred a move to England [Daily Record], with several EFL Championship clubs interested.
However, it’s been suggested this week that the Gers have moved into pole position to land the Scotland international, ahead of the likes of Sheffield United and Blackburn Rovers [The Herald].
It’s unlikely that Souttar will become a Ger before the summer, though.
Hearts manager gives January update
Citing Hearts’ desire to qualify for European football, Neilson has made it clear that they would much prefer to keep Souttar this month than accept a cut-price fee and be significantly weakened for the second half of the season.
“We have to keep our best players in the team,” he said [Scarves Around the Funnel podcast] “If that means it’s at the end of the season they go, then it’s the end of the season when they go.”
“Unless there’s a crazy bid coming in, but I don’t expect there will be.”
Rangers fans may have to be patient on Souttar
It doesn’t look like Souttar will be moving to Glasgow this month to bolster a defence that performed very well in December but showed evidence of flaws earlier in the season.
Gio van Bronckhorst should still have enough resources at his disposal to allow him to be successful, though, particularly with Filip Helander soon set to return from injury.
Souttar isn’t Rangers’ only reported centre-back target, anyway, with Vitesse’s Danilho Doekhi also heavily linked.
It’s looking increasingly likely that Souttar will become a Ger in the summer, though, and it would be great for the club if Ross Wilson was able to secure a pre-contract in the coming weeks.
Having a concrete arrangement in place would help with planning as both Connor Goldson and Leon Balogun are out of contract at the end of the season and the out-of-favour Jack Simpson has been linked with a move away.