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In profile: Calvin Bassey

Written by Jack Stroudley on 24th July 2023

It appears after the usual slow start, Fulham finally appear to have got the ball rolling on the transfer front. With Willian re-signing for the club last week, the next player through the door appears to be Ajax defender Calvin Bassey. Reports from David Ornstein and Fabrizio Romano confirm that a €21 million deal has been agreed and the defender is going to complete his move to London at some point this week. With Duffy released and Tosin’s future uncertain, defensive reinforcements were a top priority, but what can Fulham expect from Calvin Bassey?

The fact file

Calvin Bassey started his youth career at Leicester City and spent five years there playing regularly for their U18 and U23 sides. The Nigerian international moved to Rangers in 2020 on a pre-contract and made his professional debut against St Mirren in a 3-0 victory and scored his only goal for the club against Falkirk in a Scottish League Cup fixture. Bassey was most known for his time at Rangers for his performance against Eintracht Frankfurt during 2022 Europa League final, which is where interest from other clubs came about.

Bassey chose to make the switch to Ajax last summer for £20 million. It hasn’t quite worked out for him; he struggled over the season (along with most of the Ajax side in fairness) and now looks to seek a move elsewhere.

A deeper dive

Bassey is a left-footed defender who predominantly plays as a centre-back but can also deputise as a left-back. The current Ajax player’s most impressive attributes are passing being in the top 2% of central defenders for passes attempted and the top 17% for pass completion. He is also in the top 4% of progressive passes, and top 2% of progressive carries. His defensive stats are also quite impressive as well, being in the top 9% of tackles.

Being a left-footed central defender who is great at passing means one thing. He looks to be the eventual Tim Ream replacement, so how do the two compare?

Looking at the graphic above, Bassey (in blue) matches if not betters Ream (in red) for not only defensive actions but for progressive passing and carrying of the ball. The 23 year old obviously played in a less challenging division so would need to adapt to life at Fulham if he was to be signed.

Yes or no?

This one is a yes for me. Ream has been exceptional during his time at Fulham but there is no guarantee he’s going to keep that level up. Bringing in a younger defender who shares the same attributes as the American makes a lot of sense to me. Let Ream and Silva (hopefully) teach Bassey how to adapt to playing in a better division and I think we’d have a very talented player on our hands and for €21 million it seems like a good piece of business.

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