Hearts defender John Souttar 'on cusp of Rangers deal'
John Souttar is poised to sign a pre-contract deal to join Rangers and would be ‘keen’ to accelerate a move to Ibrox this month, according to reports.
Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United had all been keen on taking the defender to the English Championship, where his brother Harry plays for Stoke City.
However Rangers’ offer to stay in Scotland is now believed to be the 25-year-old’s preferred option.
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has been hopeful he could fend off the outside interest and keep the defender at Tynecastle for longer – and this week insisted it would only take a “crazy” offer to take the defender away this month.
However Sky Sports reports that following talks with the Scottish champions Souttar is ‘keen’ on realising that scenario and making a permanent switch to Glasgow this month.
Souttar’s fellow defenders at Tynecastle – Craig Halkett, Stephen Kingsley and Michael Smith – have all signed extensions to stay at the club, as has goalkeeper Craig Gordon, but Souttar’s renewal remains unresolved.
The defender has played more than 150 times over six years in Gorgie following a move from Dundee United but has suffered a series of injury problems throughout his time.
However after overcoming three serious Achilles issues, Souttar’s return to form at Hearts throughout 2021 alerted several clubs to his contractual situation and Scotland boss Steve Clarke. He was handed a third cap against Denmark last year and capped a fairytale comeback with a goal at Hampden in November’s World Cup qualifiers.
Former Rangers boss Alex McLeish has also tipped Souttar as a potential replacement for Connor Goldson whose contract at Rangers expires at the same time as Souttar’s Hearts agreement with no resolution reached either.
While 25-year-old is believed to favour joining Goldson for the second half of the season McLeish believes he could step into his shoes further down the line and described Souttar as a ‘lovely mover of the ball’ and highlighted a Goldson trait in the Hearts defender’s attributes.
The former Rangers and Scotland boss added: “He’ll see the long pass – not a long ball but a long pass. He is quite composed too.”
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