Brighton and Ajax have held initial talks over a deal to sign highly-rated Calvin Bassey from Rangers.
The versatile defender is also attracting interest from Serie A and the Bundesliga with at least seven teams following the 22-year-old.
Sky Sports News reported in May that Bassey was also a target for former Gers boss Steven Gerrard, now at Aston Villa.
Ajax head coach Alfred Schreuder is understood to have spoken to Bassey by phone and was impressed, with the Dutch club preparing a formal offer as they look to replace Lisandro Martinez, who is set to join Manchester United.
Rangers are relaxed by interest in the Nigerian international and won’t consider any offers unless they top £20m, with a source suggesting any deal may need to improve on the all-time Scottish record of £25m. when Kieran Tierney joined Arsenal from Celtic.
If Bassey, who joined from Leicester City for just £230,000 two years ago, leaves this summer, it will see Rangers break the club’s record transfer fee for the second successive season.
It would follow academy graduate Nathan Patterson’s £16m move to Everton in January as the club moves towards full financial sustainability thanks to its player-swap model, a key part of the board’s strategy. the Rangers.
Although Bassey is understood to be based at Rangers, he would be open to further talks with Ajax and Brighton.
The defender, who still has two years left on his contract, made 50 appearances in all competitions last season and was named in the Europa League team of the season after the club reached the final.
He also played a key role when Rangers won the Scottish Cup in May, adding to the Scottish Premiership title they won the previous campaign.
The Rangers have already added Antonio Colak, Tom Lawrence, Rabbi Matondo and John Souttar to their roster this summer, but they are expected to make more moves during the window.
With reported interest in Rangers’ other left-back, Borna Barisic, the club are looking to add more defensive options as well as bolster their attacking line-up as the club attempts to qualify for the Champions League and reclaim the Scottish Premiership title. .
Boyd: Rangers will miss versatile Bassey | Signing for Brighton could trigger a domino effect
Former Rangers forward Kris Boyd told Sky Sports News:
“Especially towards the end of this season, and the Europa League run Rangers had, Bassey was unbelievable. He’s also versatile; he can play left-back, he can play left of a two, left of a three. , center three and I think that’s why he’s drawing clubs in. We know, nowadays, that when teams look for players, they look for them to fill numerous positions and Bassey certainly falls into that category.
“These performances towards the end of the season for the Rangers were outstanding and you feel like the team believed in that a lot as well. They didn’t have to guard the baseline as much because of their pace, recovery, ability to deal with one-on-one situations. has to go, as it looks like it will, it will be a huge loss for the Rangers.
“Players have gone in the past and replaced, but I think this one could be a little tough because of that versatility. I think the Rangers are going to need coverage. Borna Barisic is there, but he’s also been linked with distance moves. So So they’ll need someone to come in at left back, and someone who can play left side of a two or three as well after losing Bassey.
“Virgil van Dijk showed it at the highest level, but I think it’s very tough on such a young boy, at this point in time, it’s time to tag him. But he’s showing he has the attributes, he has the pace, he has the aggressiveness.” , he is good with the ball, he can defend one on one, so he will be an attractive signing for someone.
“Brighton have been the English team linked to him and I’m not surprised because when you look at the way they’ve done their business since coming to the Premier League it’s been outstanding.
“I don’t think they overpay for any player and I don’t think they have to. We’ve seen it with Marc Cucurella, Yves Bissouma and Ben White last season. They’ll bring in players, give them a chance, then give them a chance and then they will sell and I’m sure owner Tony Bloom and Brighton will have the exact same thought process with Calvin Bassey or they wouldn’t make the deal.
“I can’t help but think this could start a domino effect. We’ve already seen Zinchenko linked with Arsenal and if I were Manchester City I’d go and give Brighton whatever they wanted for Cucurella. I think he’s as good as he is.” . like anything in the Premier League. He suits his attacking style of play and if that’s the case, Bassey could easily become a starter at Brighton.”
Bassey has the potential to make it to the top
Sahil Khaidka of Sky Sports:
“It’s no surprise that the Rangers are able to sell one of their standout players from last season, but whoever wants him faces a real battle to land the defender, such is the competition.
“After years of ups and downs at clubs like Leyton Orient, Charlton and Leicester, the 22-year-old has continued to excel at Ibrox and also broke into the Nigeria squad.
“His pace in and out of possession, aerial presence, versatility and strength saw him earn a place as one of the top names on the team sheet at Ibrox last season.
“Not only domestically, but also in Europe, Bassey has shown he has the potential to come out on top after winning the man of the match in the Europa League final and, days later, in the Scottish Cup final. .
“Rangers fans will no doubt be sad to see him go, but if the club charges a fee of more than £20m it shows that the player swap model is working.
“It’s no secret that the Rangers want to buy players, develop them and then sell them for a big profit and Bassey’s departure would make that happen.”
“The club receiving a club record fee for a player for the second successive window will also be welcomed as Rangers move towards full financial sustainability.
“With four additions already in this window, it is clear that the board is backing Giovanni van Bronckhorst in this transfer window and there is no doubt that sporting director Ross Wilson will have a roster ready to ensure more faces in various areas come to Ibrox. before the transfer window closes.”
Burke expects a ‘Bassey bidding war’
Former Rangers winger Chris Burke told Sky Sports News:
“I think he has excelled, especially over the last six months. He can play numerous positions, as you can see in a defense of three or four.
“It’s a pure powerhouse and as time goes on it’s getting better and better.
“Great signing of the club and if they sell it it will be a lot of money.
“We talked about Kieran Tierney being over £25m and you can’t see it would be less than that.
“I hope for Rangers’ sake that he stays, he’s still learning. He seems like a great lad and he was fantastic in the European game.”
“We’re hoping to see Calvin Bassey in a Rangers jersey next season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a bidding war for him.”