Gary Locke: Hearts have no desire to sell John Souttar

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Hearts plan to resist any offers for John Souttar before the transfer window closes as he becomes an increasingly key member of manager Craig Levein’s team.

Clubs in England and abroad are watching Souttar, with Derby previously credited with an interest. As Hearts’ vice-captain, he is deputising for injured skipper Christophe Berra and is expected to win his first senior Scotland cap next month.

18/07/18 BETFRED CUP' COVE RANGERS V HEARTS (1-2)' BALMORAL STADIUM - COVE' John Souttar in action for Hearts

18/07/18 BETFRED CUP' COVE RANGERS V HEARTS (1-2)' BALMORAL STADIUM - COVE' John Souttar in action for Hearts

The Edinburgh club are determined to keep him and help his ongoing development as one of the best centre-backs in the country. Hearts’ official ambassador Gary Locke sees no reason why Souttar, whose contract runs until May 2020, should be looking elsewhere.

“We don’t want to be selling our best players,” stated Locke. “Unfortunately, if we have had a player doing really well over the years, all the bigger clubs with a bit more money come sniffing around.

“There are a lot of clubs who will probably be watching John at the minute. He is playing really well at Hearts so I don’t see any reason why he would want to go anywhere else at this moment in time.”

Manager Craig Levein handed Souttar the armband following Berra’s hamstring injury and then saw fellow defender Aaron Hughes suffer a calf problem against Dunfermline on Saturday.

“If John keeps playing the way he is playing, hopefully it fills that massive void with Christophe not fit,” continued Locke. “Craig has said we are looking at other defenders because Aaron got injured as well. We are a wee bit light at the back. Hopefully whoever comes in plays as well as Soapy.”