‘He’s a beast’ – The Dutchman tips Nigeria’s most expensive defender in history for promotion to the Premier League

All eyes will be on the Nigeria international, who continues his development in the Netherlands after his historic move from Scotland in July

Dutch defender Justen Kranthove has backed Ajax Amsterdam newcomer Calvin Bassey to shine in the Netherlands and gain promotion to the English Premier League in the not-too-distant future.

Born in Aosta, Italy, Bassey came to England with his family and enrolled at Leicester City Academy as a teenager in 2015.

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

While Kranthove eventually ended up at Czech club Slovan Liberec, Bassey moved to Glasgow Rangers and won the Scottish Premiership in his debut season.

However, the versatile full-back’s breakthrough at Rangers will only come in the second half of the 2021/22 season following the appointment of Dutch coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst

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

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

What did Kranthove say about Bassey?

Slovan Liberec ace Justen Kranthove believes Ajax have found a great person and a superb footballer rolled into one.

“Bassey is always a laugh. A very good boy. He’s a joker, but deadly serious once he’s on the field. You can see that in the games,” said the 21-year-old, according to Voetbal Primeur.

“There is just quality on the field. He’s quick, strong, agile and has a good overview, but he’s also good at football and that’s sometimes forgotten.

“Just ask the people who know him well. It quickly becomes clear that he’s ‘a beast’ but the football part got involved with him pretty early on.”

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

And the Dutchman believes a similar scenario will be played out for Bassey in the Netherlands, with the Super Eagles boy set to make the move to the English Premier League before long.

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

“I understand he’s 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 move to Rangers worked out well for him and to eventually see him play in the Premier League or something.

“He developed very well but I always knew he would make it. It doesn’t matter where it would be. So far he’s been one of the better defenders anywhere. It was not without reason that he was in the best team in the Europa League.”

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

In his Ajax debut, Glasgow Rangers’ record sale was dismissed as the Eredivisie champions lost the Johan Cruyff shield to arch-rivals PSV.

Still, Ajax manager Alfred Schreuder has supported the Nigerian to learn from the experience and come back stronger for the Sons of the Gods.

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