Hearts boss Robbie Nielson has revealed it will take a ‘huge bid’ for in-demand defender John Souttar to leave the club in January.
Multiple Championship clubs are rumoured to be interested in acquiring the defender in the upcoming window. Souttar is out of contract in the summer, meaning he is free to speak to clubs from Wednesday. However, Nielson has insisted the Scottish club will not be forced into panic-selling their star player.
He told Sky Sports: “From our perspective, he’s here until the end of the season unless we get a bid that we can’t refuse.
“Hopefully within that time, we can negotiate a new contract. The owner and Joe Savage have been speaking to him and we’ve made him a really good offer. So it’s just a case of trying to negotiate that.
“If he does decide it’s time to move on, it will take a huge bid in January for that to happen. Or he can see out his contract and hopefully leave happy.
“From my perspective as a coach, I’ll be pushing to keep him here for as long as I can. He’s such a key part of the team.”
QPR, Blackburn and Stoke are all said to be interested in the defender’s services.
Middlesbrough, Luton Town and Preston are also keeping tabs on any decisions made.
But these Championship clubs could face stiff competition from Scottish outfits Celtic and Rangers – who are also reportedly keen.
Souttar has impressed this season after his last two campaigns were affected greatly by injury concerns.
The Scotsman also marked his return to the international side after a three year absence with the opening goal in a 2-0 victory over Denmark.
It is unclear as of yet whether Souttar will accept a new contract, or look to move elsewhere in the upcoming transfer windows.
Boss offers injury update on key defender
Meanwhile, QPR boss Mark Warburton has revealed Jordy De Wijs is unlikely to return this calendar year.
De Wijs suffered a calf injury in Rangers 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest last month.
And Warburton has admitted fans should not expect to see his return in the next few games.
He told West London Sport: “It’s a nasty one and a frustrating one for all concerned.
“It will probably be the other side (of Christmas). Hopefully not too far the other side, but I don’t think this side would be realistic.”