Hearts are weighing up whether to make an improved bid for highly-rated Dundee United youngster John Souttar after having an offer in the region of £100,000 rejected by the Tannadice club.
Souttar is out of contract this summer but Hearts, who are pushing for a Europa League place, are keen to snap up the versatile 19-year-old before the January transfer window closes.
The Scotland Under-21 cap, who can play in either defence or midfield, turned down a £600,000 switch to Sunderland in 2013 and has recently been linked with a switch to Celtic.
The offer of a new deal at United was taken off the table last summer and despite manager Mixu Paatelainen admitting that he was hopeful of the player signing fresh terms, it is understood that re-signing talks have not progressed.
Sources close to Souttar yesterday dismissed rumours of interest from Paul Lambert’s Blackburn Rovers and have indicated that the player would be open to a switch to Robbie Neilson’s side.
If Hearts fail with a second offer, the Gorgie club could try to secure the teenager on a pre-contract, although United would be eligible for a compensation fee should they offer Souttar, who has made 21 appearances this season, fresh terms.
A Hearts spokesperson said: “We do no comment or speculate on players at other clubs.”