The woes of the last few weeks at Hearts were eased on Saturday with a convincing 3-0 Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Second half goals from Uche Ikpeazu, John Souttar and Sean Clare sealed progression to the final for the Jambos.
As is usually the case, Souttar was impeccable. Alongside captain Christophe Berra, they didn’t allow Inverness a sniff at goal. The defender was even useful up the park for a change, netting his first goal of the season.
It showed once more how vital he is to Craig Levein’s men. Souttar is the Jambos’ biggest asset and a future captain. Keeping him at Tynecastle this summer has to be a main priority for Levein.
There has already been reported interest from Rangers. There is no doubt others will be sniffing around the big central defender.
Aberdeen face a similar situation, with Scott McKenna the subject of interest from clubs both north and south of the border. Bids came in for Souttar’s international teammate this season though, including a reported £7 million bid from Aston Villa. The Dons booted that offer out.
If the Pittodrie side can hold off the temptation of that kind of money, then so can Hearts. If McKenna is worth that amount of money, the Jambos could command a fee double that of the Dons defender.
Souttar should be built around
The Jambos centre-half is the perfect modern defender. Great physicality, not the slowest and brilliant in the air. You’ll struggle to find a striker who fancies a 50-50 challenge with the Scotsman.
What fans love about Souttar also is his commitment. He’ll never shy away from a tackle, willing to put himself on the line for the Jambos cause at every opportunity.
Of course big things beckon for him. As much as Hearts supporters would love to see it, the likelihood is that he won’t be in Gorgie forever. It is vitally important that his current club get what he is worth when the time eventually comes.
McKenna was subject to big money bids. He isn’t a bad player, but the Aberdeen defender is miles off what Souttar is capable of. The Hearts defender beats him in just about every department.
A big difference is McKenna still looks young. There are raw parts to his game, but that is to be expected, he is only 22. Souttar is less than two months older than him, but looks like he’s been about for years. His composure and maturity on the park is phenomenal considering his age.
The Jambos have to do all they can to keep him. If anyone does come in for him though, the price must be sky-high. McKenna was deemed to be worth more than £7 million. If that’s the case, Hearts should hold out for an eight figure fee for Souttar.