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Heart of Midlothian defender John Souttar is not the first player to find himself at the centre of a transfer-tug-of-war with Celtic holding one end of the rope and Rangers grasping the other. 

Youssouf Mulumbu admitted to the High Press podcast recently that he turned down an Ibrox offer in favour of joining a Celtic side who, back in 2018, were still the dominant force in Scottish football.  

A lot has changed in Glasgow since then of course.

Celtic given huge chance for Ange’s first trophy after hilarious Rangers meltdown | 67HH Sunday LIVE

Celtic given huge chance for Ange’s first trophy after hilarious Rangers meltdown | 67HH Sunday LIVE
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Inspired by the electrifying Scott Sinclair, Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic finished 12 points clear of Pedro Caixinha’s Rangers at the top of the Premiership table shortly before Mulumbu’s arrival. 

Three years on, it is Rangers who are wearing the crown, although the sudden departure of Steven Gerrard and Celtic’s steady improvement under Ange Postecoglou have raised fears that their time on the throne could be a short one. 

But does Souttar opt for the champions or the challengers?

Will Hearts’ John Souttar choose Celtic or Rangers?

The Scottish Sun believe that Postecoglou’s high-flying Hoops have joined their Glasgow neighbours in the battle to secure his highly sought-after signature, with Souttar’s contract due to expire next summer, that is a decision only he can make. 

The former Dundee United ace, who scored the winning goal against Celtic on Postecoglou’s Premiership debut, could be available for as little as £500,000 come January. 

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And, on paper at least, it is Rangers – rather than Celtic – that looks the more sensible of the possible moves.

Especially when you consider that both Connor Goldson and Leon Balogun, the club’s most regular centre-back partnership, are also due to become free-agents next summer. 

That would leave the crocked Filip Helander and the unconvincing Jack Simpson as the only central defenders at Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s disposal.

In truth, it’s harder to see a role for Souttar at Celtic, especially when you consider that Stephen Welsh, Carl Starfelt and Dane Murray are all on long-term deals. 

That’s without mentioning Cameron Carter-Vickers – the Tottenham loanee with an option-to-buy clause in his deal – and the soon-to-be-returning Christopher Jullien. 

There’s a feeling amongst Hearts supporters that, while Souttar may be on his way out of Tynecastle, Parkhead is unlikely to be his eventual destination. They may have a point.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

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