An update has emerged on Hearts centre-back John Souttar, regarding long-standing interest from Ibrox giants Rangers.
According to the Mail on Sunday, via the Daily Record, Rangers are long-term admirers of the Hearts central defender, who is being targeted by Championship side Stoke City ahead of the January transfer window.
He is out of contract at the end of the season and will be free to speak and negotiate pre-contract deals with any clubs outside of Scotland in January.
Ross Wilson must act upon Rangers’ interest in Souttar by launching a bid for the centre-back in the January transfer window. They could tempt Hearts into sanctioning a cut-price permanent deal for Souttar as they run the risk of losing him on a free transfer if they do not decide to cash in on him midway through the campaign.
The Gers will need to compete with Stoke for his signature, who could reach a pre-contract agreement with him, but the allure of competing for trophies every season instead of playing in the second-tier in England could be enough to persuade Souttar to arrive at Ibrox.
Steven Gerrard could land a dream centre-back partnership with Connor Goldson and Souttar if Wilson is able to strike a deal with Hearts. Souttar has proven his quality in the Premiership for Hearts this season, with an average SofaScore rating of 7.20, winning 63% of his duels on the pitch.
Former Hearts boss Craig Levein also once lauded Souttar as the best centre-back in Scotland and hailed his ability to play with the ball at his feet. He said:
“I’ve known him since he was 12 years old and he’s just got better and better. When he came here from Dundee Utd, we just needed to give him time.
“He’s grown into the player that I hoped he would be and for me he’s the best centre back in Scotland.
“Just for the fact that he can do wonderful things. His passing of the ball Saturday was fantastic, but he is also now capable physically of competing with any centre forward. His pace is very, very good and he’s strong, focused and aggressive.”
Goldson, meanwhile, has also averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.20 in the Premiership this term. Interestingly, he has also won 63% of his duels, which means that he has mirrored Souttar’s form in the top-flight. Both players are showing their class for their respective clubs and could form an imperious central defensive partnership if they play alongside each other.
Forwards would fear playing against Goldson and Souttar as the pair have proven that they have the quality to put in top-class performances at this level, which is why they could form a dream defence for Gerrard in January. This is precisely why Wilson must work hard to bring the £3.1k-per-week beast to Ibrox in the winter window.