Squad building in football is and will always be an ever-changing landscape.

One summer you can have six centre-backs and the next winter you could require two.

Rangers are in the midst of a headache in the position with a mix of ability concerns, injury persistence and contract issues all playing a part. The emergence of Calvin Bassey has tempered some of the concern but solutions need to be found quickly.

The vice-captain and massive part of the leadership group, Connor Goldson, is in a stalemate over a new contract with an ever-increasing unlikelihood that an agreement is met. Leon Balogun's deal is also up in the summer and given the 33-year-olds injury issues, it's maybe best that he departs. Filip Helander is coming back from another lengthy injury and another surgery. He likely remains for another 18 months at least but injury keeps him out of the side as things stand.

Jack Simpson and Niko Katic don't and won't have the requisite ability to play for Rangers which leaves Calvin Bassey as the only centre back who doesn't struggle with injury and is contracted long term. Rangers could use a quick fix.

As with all prominent SPFL players entering the final months of their contract, links have begun connecting John Souttar to Rangers and Celtic.

It's a route the Ibrox side have focused their domestic recruitment on in recent years.

They have proved reluctant to spend anything more than piggy bank money on talent in Scotland, instead, waiting until deals are on the verge of expiring before pouncing. Souttar should join Glen Kamara and Scott Wright in that category.

The current Hearts vice-captain is free to talk to clubs at the moment with the 25-year-old likely seeking a new challenge.

The big elephant in the room is his injuries. 

Souttar has been dealt cruel blow after cruel blow. It's been a torrid time, however, he's already completed half a season so far with no major issues. Completing more minutes this term than in the previous two combined.

Ideally, the plan wouldn't be to give him the workload that the likes of Goldson and Tavernier get through to avoid major injury going forward.

What makes him good enough to play for Rangers?

Souttar will, first of all, add some versatility to the current crop. He has played predominantly right centre-back in a back three but has experience in a four and to a much lesser extent in midfield. Giovanni van Bronckhorst hasn't used a three at the back system so far, but the tactical variety in games displayed means we can't rule it out at some stage.

The physical profile of the player really ticks most boxes. Souttar is six foot one with a strong core, big upper body and strong legs but importantly he's athletic. He covers the ground well allowing Hearts to play a higher line.

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The Scottish international would also add another leader to the group. Souttar is currently vice-captain at Hearts but more importantly, leads on the pitch. He's an organiser, marshalling the distances along the backline, making sure the opposition have a maroon man near them and constantly being the one who drags the defensive line towards halfway. He's the conductor whether it's a back three or a back four. With the possible departures of Goldson, Davis and McGregor, it's key that the club's leadership group is replenished.

Since the arrival of van Bronkhorst, there has been an increased demand for the centre-backs to be effective with the ball. Under Gerrard, they were largely babysat through the game by the midfield constantly coming to meet them. The opposite is now true. It's imperative that those fulfilling this role can not only play a bit more directly but also travel with the ball. Souttar fits the system really well.

Under Neilson, Souttar positions himself almost on the touchline during the build-up phase. The idea is to stretch the opposition front line creating gaps for Craig Halkett to pass through the centre but also allowing Souttar to get up the pitch and support the wing-back and midfielders.

Rangers Review:

He's trusted to overlap and link the play down the right-hand side. This is greatly reduced when Hearts play with four at the back. However, he can transfer those tendencies to Rangers given they can play almost exclusively in the final third.

Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

His ability on the ball would be a seamless fit given the number of touches he would get at Rangers. Goldson is probably the only centre-back in the league that has more clubs in his bag than Souttar. He passes with great tempo - fizzing the ball across the grass. But his best work comes in playing more directly. Like Goldson, Souttar is fond of the big diagonal, raking passes from one side of the pitch to the other. He is very adept at progressing the ball this way albeit Goldson's passes are more incisive, more like a long through-ball rather than just a switch of play.

Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

He travels very well in possession, playing the type of passes Rangers require from their centre-backs and he can add value in the final third.

He could improve his awareness facing his own goal but for the most part, Souttar ticks all the boxes on the ball. He might even shoot from outside the box.

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Good enough on the ball, but what about defensively?

Dealing with the ball in the air remains a key part of the battle in Scottish football and Souttar passes with flying colours. He's very patient, has a strong leap and powers through the ball. It's a small detail but what also stands out is the way he maintains possession when unpressured. Little headers into midfield or the nearest teammate instead of just booming a clearance back up the park. His troubles in the air only really arise when facing players significantly taller than him which is something every centre-back can be labelled with. He'll also instantly add value at attacking set-pieces. The guy's head is a magnet to the football. 

That aerial patience translates to the ground game as well. Whilst a totally different physical make-up, he's more of a Helander type of defender than say a Katic or Ryan Porteous, tackling when he needs to rather than forcing things that aren't there. Rangers require defenders to be aggressive positionally. To be high as you can and in a position to win the ball back as soon as possible without being exposed or giving away fouls, creating wave after wave of attack. Souttar would need to kick that up a notch due to playing a bit higher at Ibrox. Although that shouldn't be overly problematic. 

Due to his speed, he can recover in transition well and despite a serious hip injury is very capable of changing direction without pause to header away crosses or cut out passes. What makes him comparable to Helander is the really good positions he assumes defensively. His main tactic is to get side-on when running back to goal until he's in the box where he can change direction and almost backwards run. This gives him a perfect sight of what's happening and he's agile enough to make movements off of that.

He does have room for improvement however as he seems to defend the near post better in the air than with lower crosses, too many go by him when he's in a good position.

When he has to tackle he tends to force the attacker into a mistake before pouncing. Souttar likes to half engage to force the attacker into a move then use his body and clean tackling to win the ball back. He won't go diving in when it's not on, again, patience is his game.

It's not all good, however.

Souttar's main issue is his awareness of both defending his box and defending around the halfway line. You'll have vivid memories of this one.

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Goldson's long diagonal over the top, a velvet touch from Aribo and Rangers are up at Tynecastle. Joe Aribo runs beyond Souttar to slot home but that was an issue that was persistent before that goal. Celtic probably set the template a couple of weeks before.

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Souttar's awareness issue stems from being too focused on the ball, looking at what is happening rather than what could happen. He needs to learn to scan the situation once, twice, three times, as often as he can before the dangerous pass is made. Jota, Jordan White and Joe Aribo have all taken advantage of his blind spot. Jota and Joe Aribo simply ran through the gap between him and the right-back whilst White managed to score at Tynecastle because Souttar didn't take his eyes off the ball.

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Kyogo and Leigh Griffiths had some almost moments again because he's just not looked behind him. That seems his biggest non-injury issue at present and would be a big problem if you chucked him into the Europa League right now. It's coachable and he's intelligent enough to get it, but that's a black mark against his skillset.

Rangers Review:

Rangers Review:

Injury issues, areas that need to be coached aside, Souttar is a player who can come in right now and contribute.

He fits the style of play, solves a positional headache, costs nothing, helps Rangers' European homegrown quota, is a Scottish international, another leader and a top domestic player playing the best football of his life at 25 years old.

The defender would be a welcome addition in January never mind the summer.