Glasgow Rangers have been dealt a fresh setback in their bid to bring John Souttar to Ibrox in the January transfer window.
That’s according to a report by the Daily Record, which relayed a claim made by Hearts manager Robbie Neilson stating that it would take a “crazy bid” for his club to part ways with the centre-back this month.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side recently won the race to sign the 25-year-old on a pre-contract deal, beating the likes of Sheffield United and Blackburn to the defender’s signature for a free transfer at the end of the season, although it is reported that Ross Wilson is now weighing up an offer to bring the Scotland international to Glasgow in the current window.
However, in a recent statement, Hearts backed up their manager’s claim that they are firmly against letting Souttar leave Tynecastle in January, with the club announcing: “The club reiterates that John is an important member of the squad and will remain so until the end of the season unless a significant and satisfactory offer is made during the January transfer window.”
Considering just how impressive Souttar has been for Hearts so far this season, in addition to the fact that Van Bronckhorst is currently experiencing issues in the heart of his defence – with Leon Balogun and Filip Helander out injured and Connor Goldson being free to discuss a move away from the club – the news that the Jam Tarts look set to play hardball over sanctioning the 25-year-old’s departure this month with have left the Dutchman fuming.
Indeed, over his 18 Premiership appearances in the current campaign, the £900k-rated defender has been in remarkable form, helping his side to keep five clean sheets, scoring three goals and creating three big chances for his teammates, as well as taking 1.1 shots and making 0.5 key passes per game.
The £3.1k-per-week centre-back has also impressed in metrics more typical of his position, making 1.5 interceptions, 0.8 tackles, 4.4 clearances and 44.9 passes and winning 71% of his duels per match.
These returns have seen the Scotland defender average an astonishing SofaScore match rating of 7.43, not only ranking him as Neilson’s best performer in the league, but also as the fifth-best player in the entire division.
As such, it is clear to see that bringing Souttar to Ibrox this month would undoubtedly provide Rangers’ chances of going on to secure a second Premiership title in two years with a considerable boost.
However, following the latest update from Tynecastle, it would appear as if Wilson has a lot of work to do if he is to get a deal over the line for the 25-year-old in the current window, while missing out on the centre-back in January would certainly come as a blow to Van Bronckhorst and his side.