Heart of Midlothian have told Aston Villa that young center back John Souttar is not for sale this January transfer window.
John Souttar, 20, is a talented, young Scottish defender with extensive experience playing in the Scottish Premier League. Amazingly, Souttar has amassed 101 first team professional appearances since his debut at the age of sixteen.
A graduate of the Dundee United Academy, Souttar moved to Hearts after three and a half years in the Dundee first team picture.
This season, Souttar has helped Hearts move into 4th place in the Scottish Premier League–seven points off of leaders Celtic. (Notably, the club employs two Americans: captain Perry Kitchen and forward Bjørn Johnsen).
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The defender’s contract doesn’t expire until 2019. As such, Hearts manager Robbie Neilson is reluctant to let Souttar go.
The Huddersfield Daily Examiner echoed these thoughts, “We see his future at Hearts. John understands he still has another couple of years to do here, to mature, get more physical and learn as a defender.
While Scotland is a notch below the English second division, the pure amount of matches played by Souttar at such a young age is incredible. The defender only just turned twenty this past September.
John Souttar stands at 6’1″, a good height for a central defender. Early in his career he even played in a number six role for Dundee United–just ahead of the back line.
Aston Villa are in need of new, quality central defenders. James Chester is unquestionably Premier League standard, but the depth behind him remains murky. Captain Tommy Elphick was brought in for his leadership, and leadership he has brought. However, he left his solid play at Bournemouth.
Nathan Baker is a young, talented player–with the added benefit of being left-footed. However, he can never string successive starts together without injury. Micah Richards is currently fourth choice.
Youngsters Kevin Toner and Easah Suliman are both out on loan, respectively.
Hearts may say he’s not for sale, but if Aston Villa throw the cash, he’s theirs.