Hearts' John Souttar to hold contract talks in England as Rangers and Sheffield Utd join chase
John Souttar will hold formal pre-contract talks in England over the coming days once he decides which clubs hold the greatest appeal.
Souttar won’t speak personally to them all. He is currently weighing up his options and is due to whittle the list down by the end of the week before holding final discussions with a select few.
The 25-year-old has decided his future lies away from Tynecastle Park despite an offer to extend his Hearts deal, which expires at the end of the season. He is expected to sign a pre-contract with a new club before the end of the month.
Blackburn and Stoke remain two of the favourites to capture his signature but the interest from Rangers, Sheffield United and Middlesbrough has not been dismissed as things stand.
The Scotland centre-back is seen as an attractive pre-contract signing given his age, ability and international status. A number of suitors have made approaches and a decision on his future is likely to be taken soon.
Souttar is intrigued by the prospect of continuing his career in England and his general preference would be a move south of the Border. However, he has not ruled out staying in Scotland with Celtic also said to be monitoring the situation.
He plans to talk in person with some of the interested parties over the coming days. English Championship clubs with a strong chance of promotion to the Premier League hold the most appeal for the player and he has plenty to choose from in the top half of that division.
Clubs have already outlined the terms which would be on offer to Souttar and he will take a final decision once all formal offers are in front of him.
Should he agree a pre-contract before the January transfer window closes, Hearts would then need to decide whether to try and sell him now or lose him for nothing this summer. They paid Dundee United £120,000 to sign Souttar in 2016.