He was included in the 2022 Europa League Team of the Season and now becomes Nigeria’s most expensive defender in history.
Ajax have confirmed the signing of Nigerian youngster, Calvin Bassey, from Rangers on a 5-year contract in a deal worth just a little below £23m.
The 22-year-old has signed a contract with Ajax until June 2027 and arrived in Austria on Wednesday to join the Dutch champions’ training camp.
His departure will see Rangers pocket a club-record fee for a player that cost them a mere £230,000 from Leicester two years ago.
Here, FootballOrbit brings you what you need to know about the Nigerian defender.
Calvin Bassey was born on the 31st of December 1999 in Aosta, Italy.
As a child, he moved to England and joined Leicester City at the age of 15 after a successful trial.
He progressed through the club’s youth ranks, making regular appearances for the clubs’ under-18 and under-23 sides.
He couldn’t break into the first team and departed on a free transfer, without making a single senior appearance for the club.
On the 6th of June 2020, Bassey signed a pre-contract agreement with Scottish club Rangers, and officially joined the club with the opening of the summer transfer window in July 2020.
On the 9th of August 2020, he made his professional debut for Rangers in a Scottish Premiership match versus St Mirren as a substitute in a 3–0 win.
In his debut campaign, Bassey made 15 appearances for Steven Gerrard’s side and scored a goal as Rangers won the Scottish Premier League title for the first time in a decade.
In the 2021/22 season, Bassey was a key figure for Rangers during their run to the Europa League final — which they lost on penalties to Eintracht Frankfurt.
He was included in the Europa League Team of the Season.
He made 50 appearances and provided 6 assists in all competitions.
Bassey’s crowning moment of the 2021/22 season was in the Scottish Cup final, where his Man-of-the-Match display helped Rangers beat Hearts 2-0.
In total, Bassey made 65 appearances for Rangers.
On the 20th of July 2022, it was confirmed by Rangers that Bassey had been sold to Ajax for a club record fee of around £23 million.
The initial fee is £19.6m (€23m) but could rise to £22.7m (€26.5m) with add-ons. The deal was also reported to include a 10 per cent sell-on fee.
Having joined Rangers from Leicester for a nominal compensation fee of £230,000 two years ago, he departs for the biggest fee the Scottish side has ever received for a player in their history.
The fee also means Calvin Bassey is the second most expensive transfer in Ajax’s history — behind Steven Bergjwin who joined the club on a €31.25 million fee from Tottenham Hotspurs earlier this summer.
The Nigerian replaces Lisandro Martinez who joined Manchester United in a £55m deal earlier this week.
Bassey will wear the No.33 jersey at Ajax.
The move also makes him become Nigeria’s most expensive defender in history
It eclipsed former Eagles defender Taribo West’s £10.2m record transfer from Auxerre to Inter Milan in 1997.
Calvin Bassey is now Nigeria’s 4th most expensive signing in history — behind Victor Osimhen (£74m), Alex Iwobi (£35m) and Kelechi Ihenacho (£25m).
He has also became the 7th Nigerian footballer to play for Ajax; after Finidi George, Nwankwo Kanu, Tijani Babangida, Christopher Kanu, Sunday Oliseh and Pius Ikedia.
Born in Italy to Nigerian parents, Bassey — who grew up in England — was eligible to play for Italy, Nigeria or England on the international scene.
In 2021, he committed his international alliance to Nigeria when he accepted a call up for their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
On the 25th of March 2022, he made his international debut for Nigeria in a 0–0 draw versus Ghana in a 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification match.
The Super Eagles’ loss to Ghana in that game means Bassey will not participate at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
He has made 6 appearances for Nigeria so far.
Calvin Bassey is a versatile defender who can play at left-back and centre-back.
He is physically strong and very good in aerial balls.
With his robust figure, the 22-year-old is very aggressive and can be difficult to play against.
When he plays at left-back, he makes occasional forays forward to assist in attack.