Determined Hearts are reportedly ready to hold out for £500,000 plus "significant" add-ons to let star defender John Souttar join Rangers now.
The 25-year-old is Ibrox-bound in the summer after agreeing a pre-contract with the Premiership champions on Friday. But Hearts remain hell-bent on keeping the Scotland international in Gorgie for the second half of the season, unless Rangers table a sizeable offer to get their man now.
Robbie Neilson's side are in pole position to finish third and that will tee them up for a lucrative shot at group stage football in Europe for the first time in over a decade.Hearts have recently signed key quartet Craig Gordon, Stephen Kingsley, Craig Halkett and Michael Smith to new Tynecastle deals.The Daily Mail report Gio van Bronckhorst will have to push the boat out to get Souttar now as he looks to solidify his rearguard with a jam-packed schedule looming.Connor Goldson only has six months remaining on his current Ibrox deal and both Leon Balogun and Filip Helander have been sidelined for spells this season.That has let Calvin Bassey prove his worth in the middle of the defence, however, van Bronckhorst is acutely aware of the need in that position.Hearts made clear their intentions on Friday night as they told supporters they will not be given the short shrift during pending talks with Rangers.A 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.Read more on dailyrecord.co.uk