Hearts manager Robbie Neilson has made the Edinburgh club’s position on Rangers-linked John Souttar and other soon-to-be out-of-contract stars clear ahead of the January transfer window [Daily Record].
The Gers have been linked with Souttar for some time and he’s currently in excellent form.
He’s been a big part of the Jambos’ strong start to the season and he returned to Scotland colours with a bang last month, scoring in an impressive win over Denmark.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Blackburn had opened pre-contract negotiations with the 25-year-old centre-back [Daily Record].
However, it was also asserted that despite the initial links coming during Steven Gerrard’s time at Ibrox, new boss Gio van Bronckhorst ‘hasn’t closed the door’ on a move for Souttar.
One potential way to increase Rangers’ chances of landing the defender would be to make an offer to sign him next month, rather than going down the pre-contract route.
However, Neilson says offers for players approaching the end of their contracts will need to be substantial or they will be turned down.
“We’ve obviously got a number of players out of contract but we’re not in a situation where we need to sell them,” he said [Daily Record].
“I’ve had a chat with sporting director Joe Savage and the board. And we know that, unless somebody comes in willing to pay really big money for somebody, they’ll stay here until the end of the season because the objective this season is to get into Europe.
“And that financially is worth a lot of money to the club – certainly enough to outweigh any mediocre bid we’re going to get for a player.
“It’s good to be reassured on that front. We’ve got a strong board and financially we’re in a good position so we don’t need to sell. I’m confident that will be the case.”
Rangers sent clear Souttar message by Hearts boss
Rangers may well be interested in Souttar heading into the January window and that would make sense.
He’s been one of the top performers in his position in Scotland so far this season and the Gers have looked light at the back for the majority of the campaign.
However, it’s clear that this will be harder to pull off than some previous January transfer deals.
Rangers took advantage of contract situations to bring in the likes of Glen Kamara and Scott Wright from Dundee and Aberdeen in recent seasons for nominal fees.
In this instance, though, not only would they be dealing with a club determined to get a fair price, but there’s also substantial competition from south of the border.
Rangers will need to move quickly if they are to land Souttar and it’ll be interesting to see whether or not a bid is tabled during the first few days of the window.