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Gers face fight for £5m centre-half if they are still interested

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It seems increasingly unlikely that one-time Rangers target John Souttar will see out the rest of the season at Tynecastle with the race for the Hearts centre-half’s signature hotting up ahead of the January transfer window opening.

Stoke City and Middlesbrough are both named as keeping an eye on the stopper, the former, ironically, due to a knee injury sustained to Souttar’s brother Harry sustained on international duty with Australia.

Vital Rangers has long praised the Scotland international’s ability and suggested on more than one occasion that he should be on Ross Wilson’s shopping list, especially ahead of a potential defensive crisis during the African Cup of Nations and with Connor Goldson yet to commit further to the club.

A change of manager should have no effect on our signing targets and if a ball playing, commanding, right-sided central defender is on our sporting director’s shopping list, Souttar’s name won’t be far away from the top – that he meets UEFA’s home grown quota is also an added bonus.

Previously rated as high as £5million when Steven Gerrard was first linked with a move and before we signed Filip Helander, Souttar has had a wretched time with injuries, particularly to his Achilles tendon, the 25-year old has missed just one game since returning from his latest surgery in March and now appears to be fully fit – his recall to the Scotland squad a just reward for his form.

On a free transfer it’s a no brainer. He is a better player than all but three of our centre-halves and if Goldson does leave in the summer, it would be a like-for-like replacement, the only issue being that he might not still be available by the time our vice-captain makes his mind up.

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