Dundee United defender, John Souttar is in high demand as the season draws to a close with Arsene Wenger keen to sign him. Southampton and Celtic have joined Arsenal in the race to sign the 18-year-old who has made his way through the ranks at the Scottish club.
Known as a versatile player he has played 14 games in this campaign after he was injured in a pre-season game against Winterswijk which left him with damaged ankle ligaments. Souttar is one of Scotland’s youngest prospects and has been playing as a centre back and midfielder as well as picking up nine caps for the under 19 side.
Brain McDermott was seen at Dundee’s game against St Johnstone at the weekend and it is believed Wenger is keen to bring in more young talent he can mould just like Gabriel Paulista. While a move to Celtic may appeal for the Scottish youngster it would be hard to turn down signing for the Gunners. The 60-year-old gaffer loves signing young players and watching them play and develop under his leadership – and it seems Souttar could be the next lucky star to be chosen.
Wenger has always acted differently to most managers; while the others are spending huge money on established stars who want a move to England, he has always preferred to look down the leagues to find the bright talent which is emerging. Laurent Koscielny made his 200th appearance for the Gunners against Hull and is one of many who have grown and developed under the Gunners boss.
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In a post-match interview Wenger explained that adding to the defence is not his big priority during the summer transfer window so if Souttar is looking to develop his game he would be a great signing for the London club. The 18-year-old would not cost the club obscene amounts of money and would be a player they could come to rely on heavily in the future whether in defence or midfield.
Souttar will evidently make the final decision on his future. If he chooses to stay in Scotland he will most likely get more match time at a club like Celtic than he would at his first season in the Premier League, but there are not many clubs where he will get the advice and help he needs than at Arsenal. He only has to look at Koscielny to see how much a player can improve at the club.
Arsenal have never signed a Scottish player while Wenger has been in charge but it looks like they are going to fight very hard for this one. Dundee’s No. 2 Simon Donnelly believes that as well as the talent he has shown on the pitch, Souttar has shown amazing mental strength despite his age.
Donnelly told the Evening Telegraph:
“You saw him, and Blair Spittal for that matter, show they can cope with it and prove they are young boys with a real future ahead of them. I think I’ve said it before — these guys are only lacking 50 to 100 games. Once they’ve got around that number, they will be a big plus for club.”
Soutter has had a lot to deal with in the season after coming back from a difficult injury and he has been guided well by the management staff at Dundee United. Wenger has a knack for spotting talent like Soutter and a move to London could be very beneficial for both player and club.