By George Overhill

14th Jan, 2022 | 2:10pm

Robbie Neilson wants to hold onto Rangers target John Souttar

Rangers would have to make a “crazy bid” if they want to land John Souttar before the end of his contract, according to Hearts manager Robbie Neilson.

The Tynecastle boss has pointed to the psychological effect an early departure would have on the rest of his squad as a key reason why he is keen to hold onto the key centre-back.

He appears to accept the likelihood of being unable to do so beyond the end of the current season.

Speaking on the Scarves Around the Funnel podcast, as quoted by Rangers Review, the Scot said: “We have to keep our best players in the team. If that means it’s at the end of the season they go, then it’s the end of the season when they go.

“Unless there’s a crazy bid coming in, but I don’t expect there will be.”

Willing to wait

Much as manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst would love to add the Scotland international to his squad mid-season, it surely makes financial sense to wait.

While sometimes it makes sense to make a small transfer bid to buy a player who is approaching the end of their contract in order to jump the queue of potential suitors that does not look to be the case here.

With Hearts determined to get a benefit from the defender on the pitch for as long as possible a “crazy bid” must price him out of reach until the summer.

There are thought to be competitors for his signature but if Gers can position themselves as the most attractive offer for the player it will be an excellent piece of business.

With the likes of Connor Goldson and Nikola Katic having unsure futures it would be a big boost at Ibrox to recruit a proven Scottish Premiership performer on a free transfer.

In other Rangers news, this huge club is reportedly ready to move for a star Light Blues man this month.