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Wigan would be better off signing this 22-year-old Scottish league sensation in the summer rather than January

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Why Wigan Athletic should sign John Souttar in the summer of 2019

Hearts star John Souttar has emerged as a January transfer target for Wigan Athletic, reports the Scottish Sun.

Wigan tried to sign the defender earlier in summer transfer window but failed to do so. Hence, the Championship outfit want to give another shot in the winter transfer window.

John Souttar, 22, joined the Dundee United academy in 2006 and progressed through various youth levels before signing a professional contract in 2012. He went on to make 73 first-team appearances before securing a move away to Hearts in 2016.

The young Scotsman soon established himself as a mainstay in the backline for Hearts and has made 93 appearances in all competitions, scoring a goal. Souttar was one of the best young centre-backs in the Scottish Premiership last season as Hearts finished sixth in the Premiership. He also scooped the Hearts’ Young Player of the Season award.

Hearts are the surprise leaders of the Scottish Premiership right now and Souttar has had a mighty hand. This season so far, the Scotland international has racked up 14 appearances across all competitions – eight in the Premiership and six in the League Cup. He has been a part of a defence that has leaked just seven goals in nine league games till date this season.

Given how impressive Souttar has been, helping Hearts to the top of the league while establishing himself in the Scotland squad, he could be the real answer to Wigan’s defensive problems.

Wigan are enjoying life back in the Championship but have already conceded 16 goals this term, which should definitely worry manager Paul Cook.

After securing promotion to the Championship by winning the League One title, Cook brought in Cedric Kipre from Motherwell earlier this summer to boost his defensive options. And while Kipre has shown signs of finally finding his feet in Championship football, the Latics have conceded 16 goals already.

Despite having the likes of Chey Dunkley, Dan Burns and Alex Bruce, Wigan have struggled defensively. Souttar, meanwhile, would fit the bill perfectly at the DW Stadium. He has all the attributes to be a hit in the Championship, while his leadership qualities would also help Wigan.

However, the young Scotsman has picked up a hip injury and is out for five to six months. It’s surely a big blow for Hearts and could equally scupper Wigan’s plans of making a move for the defender in January.

Read more: 6 goals in 10 games – Wigan beating West Brom to sign this Championship sensation would elevate their attacking fluidity

Hence, the ideal thing Wigan can do is to wait for Souttar to recover fully and make a move for him in the summer of 2019. Cook, meanwhile, can pursue other defensive options in January but he must certainly keep a track on Souttar.