Nottingham Forest have identified John Souttar as the man to replace Joe Worrall in the eventuality he is sold in January, according to The Sun.
Souttar will be a free agent during the summer when his contract with Hearts expires. As a result, he could be in line for a cut-price move in January.
Both Rangers and Celtic have been linked with the 25-year-old who has been with his current club since 2016 when he signed from Dundee United.
Souttar has four Scotland caps to his name and has made 147 appearances for Hearts during his five years at the club.
The defender scored his only international goal last month during a crucial World Cup qualifier against Denmark.
The centre-back is comfortable playing as part of a three or a four-man defence and Forest are making contingency plans should Worrall leave.
Forest’s star man was linked with a move to the Premier League during the summer and he could be the next academy starlet to leave the City Ground.
Forest signed Scott McKenna from the Scottish Premiership and the club will hope for similar success if they do manage to land Souttar in the coming months.
Talent: Souttar could be perfect for Forest
It’s fair to say that Forest would welcome another central defender into their ranks – even without Worrall leaving.
McKenna partners the 24-year-old with Tobias Figueiredo in reserve but if Cooper starts with three at the back there is rarely a centre-back on the bench.
Loic Mbe Soh and Rodrigo Ely have both struggled with injuries and that means Forest are in short supply of central defenders.
Souttar isn’t yet at the peak of his powers and he’d be the sort of signing that would suit Cooper and Dane Murphy down to the ground.