Charlie Nicholas reckons Connor Goldson could leave Rangers in January if pre-contract offers for defensive targets are secured

Centre-backs John Souttar and Danilho Doekhi have been linked with moves to Ibrox as potential replacements for mainstay Goldson

Charlie Nicholas believes Rangers are in pole position to sign John Souttar and expects the Ibrox club to match any alternative bid for the defender financially.

The Hearts centre-back is in the final six months of his contract at Tynecastle and GlasgowWorld reported the Light Blues are planning to offer Souttar and Vitesse Arnheim captain Danilho Doekhi pre-contracts this month.

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With uncertainty remaining over Connor Goldson’s long-term future and interest mounting in left-back Borna Barisic, manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst is eager to strengthen his backline.

Connor Goldson has still not signed a new Rangers contract. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Former Celtic striker and Sky Sports pundit Nicholas reckons Goldson could leave the club in this window, providing the Rangers boss secures at least one of his defensive targets.

Nicholas insists Van Bronckhorst’s personal touch could be enough persuade Souttar and Doekhi to join the Scottish champions, despite significant interest from other clubs.

Writing in his Daily Express column, he stated: “John Souttar has several options to move on but unless there is a club who could provide him with a realistic pathway to the English Premier League then I can only see him going to Rangers.

“Souttar knows the money is going to come. He is in a good position - out of contract at Hearts with clubs on both sides of the border keen.

“The English clubs who are interested in him - the likes of Nottingham Forest and Blackburn - will have made the defender very good financial offers.

John Souttar in action for Hearts. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

“I would expect Rangers to match what is on the table because he is a free transfer.

“Rangers have made a push for him and by all accounts Giovanni van Bronckhorst has made his move personally and that could sway his decision.

“The only way that might change is if Souttar gets an offer from an English Championship club where he has an opportunity not only to play but to win promotion to the Premier League.

“I know Nottingham Forest are one of the teams who are in for Souttar, but if he can’t get a club who is more stable or established then I am not sure he’d make the move.

“If that is the case then I think he will end up at Ibrox.

“Souttar has had a lot of injuries but at 25, he is at a good age and if Rangers offer him a long-term contract for the next three or so years then that could swing it.

“If I were Souttar I would want to make a decision on my future this month and leave Hearts before the close of the transfer window.

“Tynecastle chiefs, though, could play hardball and let him run his contract down if the deal is not right.

“I can see the value in Rangers making a move for Souttar. He is an established Scotland international with his best years still ahead.

“He has shown he is a good player and if he can stay clear of injury then whoever gets him will be getting a good signing.

Danilho Doekhi of Vitesse (Photo by Ben Gal/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

“He just needs to pick the right club for him and one where he will play every week. I think that would definitely be the case if he goes to Rangers.

“I don’t expect Connor Goldson to stay beyond the end of the season. I can’t see Van Bronckhorst sitting about and not having a replacement or a plan B.

“The new Rangers manager has shown he is decisive and not scared to make the big decisions.

“He is also looking at Danilho Doekhi of Vitesse Arnhem, although there is interest from other clubs in him as well, including PSV Eindhoven.

“If Rangers were to get one or both of these targets tied down then I could see them looking to sell Goldson before the close of the window.”