Hearts manager Craig Levein has been quoted by BBC Sport as saying that he does not believe defender John Souttar would leave Tynecastle to join Rangers, after being linked this week.
The Daily Record claimed in an exclusive that 22-year-old defender Souttar is being eyed by Steven Gerrard to add depth to his options at centre-back. Rangers are set to lose two players in that position.
Souttar has been in excellent form for Hearts this season, despite having a hip injury for much of the campaign. He has clocked up 30 appearances in all competitions, in which Hearts have won 19 games.
Without Souttar, they have only won six of their 15 outings. Asked in Thursday’s press conference if he thinks Souttar will leave for Rangers, Levein replied by stating he does not believe the defender would go to Ibrox.
“I’m not sure John would go there to be honest. No, I don’t think so,” Levein said.
Souttar would be an excellent signing. Rangers look set to lose Joe Worrall who has been on loan at the club from Nottingham Forest, while Gareth McAuley’s contract is about to expire.
That leaves Gerrard with just Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson for next season. A centre-back or two is required, and Souttar has been identified. The report claims he could be bought for just £1million.
Rangers have to do everything within their power to land the Scotland international, as he would be perfect for the Gers. But Levein’s comments will come as a huge blow.