Rangers have signed Hearts defender John Souttar on a pre-contract deal.
The Scottish international is out of contract this summer and was also wanted by several English league clubs, including Blackburn Rovers.
However, after initial talks with Rangers, Souttar agreed to join the Scottish Premiership champions.
Sky Sports News understands the 25-year-old wants a permanent move to take place this month.
Souttar has made over 150 appearances for the Tynecastle Park club, six years after joining Dundee United.
Following several serious injuries, Souttar has played in all but two Premiership games this season and his impressive performances have earned him a recall to Scotland.
Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson said on the club’s official website“We are really looking forward to John joining Rangers and continuing his development under Gio, our coaching and support team.
“John is a Scotland international in his own right and has so much potential for the years to come. I have really enjoyed getting to know John through all of our conversations so far and I can see how delighted he and his family are. to join Rangers. We are also delighted to welcome John to Ibrox.”
Hearts don’t wanna sell Souttar
Reacting to the announcement, Hearts released a statement saying they want Souttar to stay at Tynecastle until the end of his contract.
“Heart of Midlothian Football Club notes Rangers Football Club’s announcement of the pre-contract signing of John Souttar.
“The club recalls that John is an important member of the first team and will remain so until the end of the season, unless a meaningful and satisfactory offer is made during the January transfer window. “
What will Souttar bring to Rangers?
Souttar’s ability to lead by example and be an imposing figure on the pitch is there for all to see.
Going back to Hearts’ first Premiership game of the season, the defender helped his side at both ends of the pitch as they beat Celtic 2-1.
A few brave blocks, well-timed tackles and the ability to guide fellow defenders through the game were impressive – as was his desire to find himself on the end of a cross to drive home an 89th-minute winner.
That presence in an attacking sense will excite Rangers fans and dead-ball specialists James Tavernier and Borna Barisic.
Wilson has often spoken of the need to be forward-thinking when it comes to recruitment and the move also shows the club are continuing to make progress in this area.
With uncertainty over the future of Connor Goldson – who is yet to agree a new deal beyond the end of this season – Souttar could replace the Englishman.
The Ibrox club lead the Premiership with six points, but the move shows they are already planning for the future under Giovanni van Bronckhorst.