By Adefunmiloye Alani

10th Oct, 2021 | 8:10pm

Rangers retain long-standing interest in Hearts defender John Souttar

Rangers retain a long-standing interest in Hearts defender John Souttar, according to the Scottish Mail on Sunday.

They have been linked with the 25-year-old – who has three caps for Scotland – in the past [The Herald] and may be attracted to the fact that he would be available for a nominal fee in January.

Souttar currently has a few months left on his deal and is also attracting interests from the Premier League trio of Everton, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.

Finally?

Two career-threatening injuries have dealt a huge blow on the international progress of Souttar and dissuaded Rangers and other suitors from making moves.

He played just 16 games across all competitions in 2019-20 and 2020-21 after rupturing his Achilles tendon twice.

However, Souttar has bounced back from those injury set-backs, featuring in 10 games across all competitions so far this term and scoring once.

Steven Gerrard could be looking to strengthen his defence in January after injuries and covid-19 infections almost forced him to play left-back Calvin Bassey centrally in Europe.

Nikola Katic is out on loan, Filip Helander suffered a serious knee injury against St Johnstone, while Connor Goldson was stuck in self-isolation ahead of last month’s Europa League clash against Lyon, leaving Leon Balogun as their only option at centre-back.

Having seen his side once down to their bare bones in the position, the Rangers boss will be keen to avoid a reoccurrence, and landing Souttar could be a huge boost.

Described as strong, quick and composed on the Hearts official website, the Scottish ace could prove to be a quality addition to the Bears backline.

In other Rangers news, Chris Sutton has taken swipe at Bears as SFA make VAR decision.