Report: Celtic in for 4-cap international in a move that would devastate Premiership foe
Celtic have joined the race for Hearts and Scotland centre-back John Souttar, according to The Scottish Sun.
The report states that Celtic are to battle Rangers, and as many as nine Championship sides, for the Scotland international.
Crucially, Souttar’s contract runs out next summer. That means that from the 1st of December, the Aberdeen-born defender can sign a pre-contract agreement with any club.
The club who agree a contract with him could try to negotiate an early arrival, paying Hearts a fee to end his deal early.
Souttar is one of the top-rated defenders in Scotland, according to scouting tool InStat, which rates Celtic man Anthony Ralston as the best player overall. Souttar is 12th in the entire league, with team-mate Craig Halkett just behind him.
Celtic already have decisions to make in defence. Cameron Carter-Vickers, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, was an excellent loan addition in the summer. The Bhoys have an option to make the deal permanent, provided the USMNT international would fancy a long-term deal at Celtic Park.
A chance for Celtic to devastate one Premiership foe in Souttar deal, maybe even two
Let’s get hypothetical for a second. If Celtic signed John Souttar from Hearts, it would undoubtedly weaken the Edinburgh side. Especially if it was for nothing.
Then, if he chose Celtic over Rangers, if the report is correct and that’s the choice he has, then that would land a significant blow. It would show who the side in the ascendency was, the club that’s more attractive for big-name players (in a Scottish context).
Do we need him? There’s an argument for it. If Carter-Vickers has his sights set on England in the long-term, or even trying to make a mark at Spurs, then we will need to replace him. Even with Christopher Jullien coming back, our options in defence could use bolstering.
Souttar, undoubtedly, would want playing time. Going from a regular place in the Hearts team to sitting on the bench wouldn’t do. And given his form this season in particular, it’d be hard to argue he wouldn’t deserve a starting berth.
Strong in the air, solid in tackle and a decent reader of the game, Souttar is a big part of Hearts’ early-season success. The fact he added a vital international goal only sweetens the deal.
Could Celtic indeed be in for Souttar? Watch this space.