Rangers have set their sights on signing Hearts defender John Souttar as recruitment chief Mark Allen prepares to assess him in today’s Scottish Cup semi-final, according to the Daily Record.

The newspaper claim the Light Blues’ director of football has identified Souttar, 22, as one of the club’s top defensive targets ahead of the summer window.

The Record report Allen is a big admirer of the centre-back but Hearts will not cave in easily over one of their prize assets and it would take a seven-figure fee to get a deal done.

Football Insider verdict:

Souttar has revived his career at Tynecastle after early promise faded at ex-club Dundee United. He has emerged as one of the finest centre-backs in the SPL, although he is perhaps a rung or two below Aberdeen’s master and commander Scott McKenna. The advantage of pursuing Souttar in comparison to the Dons ace is that he is still ripe for improvement but will not fetch the £8million-plus price tag on the Pittodrie man’s head. Hearts will not make it easy for Rangers, though, if Allen proceeds with his pursuit and the green light is given from the Ibrox board for a concerted attempt to prise him from Tynecastle. Hearts are in a strong negotiating position, after tying Souttar down to a new contract earlier in the season that runs until 2022. Rangers are likely to have to pay way in excess of £1million – possibly closer to £2.5million – to get this deal done in the summer window.

In other Rangers transfer news, it can be REVEALED that an Ibrox 26-yr-old whose name regularly sang by fans is to be told to find new club.

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