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‘Signing of the century’, Levein hails Gers new recruit

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Former Scotland boss Craig Levein has been speaking highly of Rangers new signing John Souttar.

Rangers confirmed the pre-contract signing of Souttar from Hearts on Friday. 

The two clubs may negotiate a fee in January to seal the deal immediately.

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Hearts confirmed the signing on social media, reiterating that Souttar remained an important member of the squad, unless a ‘significant and satisfactory offer is made in January’. 

Souttar began his career at Dundee United, coming through the ranks before signing a professional deal in 2012.

He was given the opportunity of a move to the English Premier League with Sunderland in 2014 but rejected the deal

Speaking in 2017, Souttar claimed he did not regret his decision to stay in Scotland.

Injury history

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Souttar has experienced a career of injuries, and it looked to be over for him at a young age.

He missed a total of 33 games at Dundee Utd before signing with Hearts in 2016. 

Souttar played 22 games in his inaugural season before rupturing his achillies in January Subsequently missing the remaining 16 games. 

Souttar made a recovery for the 2017 season but ended up missing three months of the 2018/19 season with a hip injury.

He played the opening fixture of the 2019/20 season before sustaining an ankle injury, requiring surgery he missed 20 league games.

He returned in January of the same season, before rupturing his achillies in March. Hearts were relegated.

Souttar would miss almost the entire season in the Championship, making four appearances at the end of the campaign.

This current season, he has only missed two games with a knock, and has featured in 18 league games for Hearts.

TBR Opinion: Souttar is a gamble worth taking for Rangers

First and foremost, John Souttar is a good player. A current Scotland international.

He has obviously been plagued by injuries his whole career. If not, he likely would be playing in the English pyramid by now.

At the age of 25, and with the current season being relatively injury-free, it is a gamble worth taking.

Rangers are short in the centre back department. Connor Goldson has contract issues, Helander and Balogun are both injured, the latter, is also out of contract at the end of the season. 

Calvin Bassey has come in and done well, but he doesn’t look a long-term solution.

Rangers are also short in the homegrown quota for European campaigns, an obvious issue that Souttar can help remedy.

Balogun looks like he may be allowed to see his contract out and leave in the summer. Souttar will likely be his replacement, 3rd/4th choice.

He knows the league; he is good enough domestically to cover. If he can stay injury free, then the signing is a no brainer.

An opinion shared by Souttar’s former manager Craig Levein. 

Reception to Souttar departure

Speaking to the Sun, Levein described the deal as “the steal of the century”. 

“But I don’t think anyone can blame John for making this decision given everything he’s been through.

“When you’ve had the types of injuries he’s had you don’t know when the curtain will come down.

“In a way I’m glad he’s gone to Rangers too from the point of view that he’ll have the chance to win some trophies

“If he then wants to go down to England after that then I’m sure he’ll get that opportunity if he continues his progression”.

While the ex-Jambos boss is happy to see his former player make the move, some Hearts fans were not pleased.

It also appears as though his current club aren’t too happy with him either.

A day after addressing fans, claiming he was an “important member of the first-team squad”, they released the following tweet, with Souttar a clear omission.

It would be very surprising if Souttar did not make his switch to Glasgow by the end of the January transfer window.

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