Report: The bargain fee Celtic would have to pay to sign John Souttar in January
Celtic would only have to pay around £500k to sign John Souttar from Hearts in the January transfer window, according to Football Scotland.
The Scottish Sun reported last night that the Hoops have joined Rangers and a host of English clubs in being interested in a pre-contract move for the player.
Souttar has undergone a renaissance this season after 2 years of injury hell at Tynecastle. It’s resulted in being a standout in the Premiership as well as bursting back onto the international scene with Scotland.
The player himself has already hinted that he won’t sign a new contract in Edinburgh either. When discussing whether Hearts would be entitled to him signing a new contract to get a bigger fee for him back in August, Souttar said: “That is the ideal world but unfortunately sometimes that isn’t always the case” [Edinburgh Evening News].
That’s left the door open for speculation to grow throughout the first half of the campaign. And now it appears as though Souttar will have his choice of clubs if he makes a pre-contract move in the summer.
However, Football Scotland report that for those looking to move sooner, Hearts are highly unlikely to accept any less than £500k for the player.
Celtic could use John Souttar in the summer more than they could in January
The biggest question mark when discussing a move for Souttar is whether Celtic actually need him. As a wise long-term investment it looks like a steal, especially if it’s going to be on a pre-contract deal or for as little as £500k.
However, let’s not forget that we actually have 4 first-team centre-backs already on the books. Carl Starfelt, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Christopher Jullien, and Stephen Welsh make up that contingent. If we get our way and Carter-Vickers’ time here becomes permanent, that will mean the same quartet likely remain at the club next season too.
Of course, bringing in Souttar for nothing in the summer remains a smart move. He’s an improvement on Welsh if we’re being honest with ourselves, and we should always be open to improvement if it comes at a low cost.
But Souttar would still be far more valuable to Celtic in the summer than he would be in January. Ange already has his centre-back options in place at this moment in time. Disrupting that with another addition and potentially breaking up the current first-choice partnerships wouldn’t be ideal.
Yes, there’s the prospect of getting Souttar in now and having him ready for potential European qualifiers if we fail to win the league. But firstly you would hope we’ll go right into the UCL next year, and we’ll likely still have a first-choice centre-back partnership in place for him arriving regardless.
Of course, it could be advantageous to make a move for Souttar in January to try to get ahead of the pack. It’s a surprise to see Hearts would potentially be willing to let him go so cheaply considering the value he has for them this season. All eyes then on where Celtic go from here.