He also held talks with English Championship clubs Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United but Rangers’ proposal persuaded him to stay in Scotland.
Souttar, 25, is out of contract at Hearts this summer and available to join another club for free. He verbally agreed terms with Rangers after meeting manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst and director of football Ross Wilson.
The Evening News has learned that the lure of Champions League football was a major factor in his decision in addition to challenging for the Scottish Premiership title.
Hearts offered the centre-back a new deal in an effort to keep him in Edinburgh but he decided to leave several weeks ago, alerting clubs on both sides of the Border.
Hearts must now to decide whether to try and sell him and recoup some cash before the January transfer window closes. Rangers may be willing to do a quick deal but Tynecastle officials are adamant they will not sell on the cheap.
A Hearts statement read: “Heart of Midlothian Football Club notes Rangers Football Club’s announcement of John Souttar’s pre-contract signing.
“The club reiterates that John is an important member of the first-team squad and will remain so until the end of the season unless a significant and satisfactory offer is made during the January transfer window. No further comment will be made at this time.”
Wilson explained that Rangers are signing potential in Souttar. “We are really looking forward to John joining Rangers and continuing his development under Gio, our coaching and support staff,” he said.
“John is a full Scotland international and has so much potential ahead for the coming years. I have really enjoyed getting to know John across all of our conversations so far and I can see how excited he and his family are to be joining Rangers. We are equally excited to welcome John to Ibrox.”