Middlesbrough, Rangers, Sheffield United, Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City among clubs chasing Hearts defender John Souttar

Middlesbrough are reported to be among a host of clubs chasing Hearts defender John Souttar.

His current contract ends this summer and reports in Scotland claim he could look to sign a pre-contract agreement with a new club this month.

Boro are looking to strengthen under Chris Wilder as they push for promotion back to the Premier League.

Reports suggest several clubs are tracking the defender.

Chris Wilder. (Photo by John Early/Getty Images)

Rangers, Sheffield United, Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City have all been linked with the defender, with Boro among the clubs named.

“The number of teams pursuing the Hearts defender is into double figures, with Rangers and Sheffield United joining others including Blackburn Rovers, Stoke City and Middlesbrough.”

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough have an interest in a loan swoop for Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun as they look to strengthen this month.

The 20-year-old forward is expected to go out on loan this month for the rest of the season.

And Boro are leading the chase for his signature according to various reports.

Express Sport report: “Confirmation of the deal's completion is now expected before the end of the week as Chris Wilder closes in on another Premier League frontman.”

Earlier in January, Brighton striker Aaron Connolly joined on loan until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old Republic of Ireland international has completed his move to Teesside, despite strong interest from elsewhere.

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