According to a report in TEAMtalk, Derby County lead Rangers in the race to sign Hearts ace John Souttar. However, the central defender is valued by the Scottish club at £5 million.

Rewind 12 months and Derby were said to be interested in the same player. Souttar could have been a target for then boss Gary Rowett, with current manager Frank Lampard coming in and opting to go elsewhere.

The Scottish Sun accredited the Rams with an ongoing interest for the centre-back, but back then he was only valued at £1 million which now appears to be a bargain deal the club have missed out on.

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Derby County’s lack of defenders:

Derby are going to need to bolster their defensive options this summer. Fikayo Tomori joined last summer on a season-long loan deal. His impressive performances could see him remain at Chelsea next season.

Curtis Davies has a contract until 2020. However, at 34 and coming off a long injury, who knows in what shape he will return this summer. Alex Pearce’s contract expires, and he is expected to leave.

The situation leaves Derby extremely light in central defence and they will need to spend this summer. Souttar, standing at 6ft 2″ and still only 22-years-old, would be an ideal addition.

The Aberdeen-born Scotland international had spells as a youth at Brechin City and Dundee United before joining Hearts. At Tynecastle, he has become a first-team regular, making over 100 appearances.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The report in TEAMtalk claims that Souttar is now ready to move to England at the end of the season. His contract at Hearts expires in 2020, but evidently the club aren’t willing to let him go on the cheap.

Championship playoff hopefuls Derby will regret not signing him 12 months ago for a much cheaper fee. It remains to be seen whether Frank Lampard now wants to go beyond and spend a big chunk of his likely budget on him this summer.

(photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Also see: Derby County loan star Harry Wilson rediscovers his top form in QPR win.

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