“He’s a beast” – Dutchman tips Nigeria’s most expensive defender in history to progress to the Premier League

All eyes will be on the Nigeria international as he continues his development in the Netherlands following his historic move from Scotland in July

Dutch defender Justen Kranthove has backed new Ajax Amsterdam signing Calvin Bassey to excel in the Netherlands and move up to the English Premier League in the not too distant future.

Born in Aosta, Italy, Bassey arrived in England with his family and registered at the Leicester City academy as a teenager in 2015.

Amsterdam-born Kranthove joined Bassey at the academy three years later, and both developed a friendship until their departure in 2020.

While Kranthove eventually landed at Czech Republic club Slovan Liberec, Bassey moved to Glasgow Rangers, winning the Scottish Premiership in his first season.

But the versatile full-back’s breakthrough at Rangers only arrive during the second half of the 2021-22 campaign, following the appointment of Dutch manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Under the guidance of the former Arsenal star, Bassey made his Super Eagles debut, won the Scottish Cup, and made it into the Europa League Team of the Season.

The 22-year-old’s quality convinced Ajax to pay Rangers £19 million for his services earlier this month – a transfer fee that makes him the most expensive Nigerian defender in history.

What has Kranthove said about Bassey?

Slovan Liberec ace Justen Kranthove is convinced that Ajax have gotten for themselves a great human being and an excellent footballer all balled into one.

“Bassey is always a laugh. A very good boy. He is a joker but dead serious as soon as he is on the field. You see that in the games,” the 21-year-old said, as per Voetbal Primeur.

“There is just quality on the field. He is fast, strong, agile, and has the overview, but he can also play football well, and that is sometimes forgotten.

“Just ask the people who know him well. It quickly becomes apparent that he is ‘a beast’, but the football part was tired got into it fairly early on with him.”

Kranthove is not surprised that Bassey excelled in Scotland before his big-money move to the Eredivisie, as it was always part of the Nigerian defender’s plan.

And the Dutchman believes a similar script will play out in the Netherlands for Bassey, and the Super Eagles lad will make the step up to the English Premier League shortly.

“He started at left-back and I was often next to him in defense (at Leicester youth team),” Kranthove added.

“I understood that he was going to Rangers. Because men’s football is played in Scotland, he could develop even better. I think it’s nice to see that the step to Rangers worked out well for him and see him eventually play in the Premier League or something.

“He has developed really well, but I always knew he would make it. It doesn’t matter where it would be. Until now he was One of the better defenders everywhere. He was in the best team in the Europa League for a reason.”

Bassey would have, however, hoped for a better start in the Netherlands than the nightmare he endured on Saturday.

On his Ajax debut, the Glasgow Rangers record sale was sent off as the Eredivisie champions lost the Johan Cruyff Shield to arch-rivals PSV.

Nevertheless, Ajax manager Alfred Schreuder has backed the Nigerian to learn from the experience and return stronger for the Sons of the Gods.

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