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Ajax Plotting A Raid On Rangers By Roping In Their Defensive Ace: Blow For The Gers?

(L-R) Rangers' Croatian defender Borna Barisic, Rangers' Canadian-Scottish midfielder Scott Arfield, Rangers' Italian-born English defender Calvin Bassey and Rangers' English defender James Tavernier celebrate on the pitch after the UEFA Europa League Semi-final, second leg football match between Rangers and RB Leipzig at the Ibrox Stadium, in Glasgow, on May 5, 2022. - Rangers won the game 3-1, and the tie 3-2 on aggregate. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Rangers have been spot on this summer with their recruitment drive but, at the same time, suffered a blow having lost Joe Aribo to Southampton. And if a report from Sky Sports journalist Angelo Mangiante is believed to be true, the Light Blues must prepare themselves for another setback with Ajax closing in on Calvin Bassey as a replacement for Manchester United-bound Lisandro Martinez.

The 22-year-old Nigeria international has been a revelation for the Gers all throughout the 2021-22 campaign. Despite a heartbreak in the tie-breaker against Eintracht Frankfurt, Bassey was the standout performer in the Europa League final. A host of clubs are keeping close tabs on his situation and Rangers have put a £25m price tag for the suitors including Ajax and Brighton & Hove Albion.

The Seagulls, on the other hand, are sweating over Marc Cucurella’s future. The Spaniard has been one of the prime transfer targets for Manchester City and his exit would leave a void down the left-hand side of a four-man backline. Bassey has not only been excellent as a left fullback but also proved his worth in central defence during the injury absence of Filip Helander and Leon Balogun.

Rangers defender Calvin Bassey
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – MAY 05: Calvi Bassey of Rangers is seen during the UEFA Europa League Semi Final Leg Two match between Rangers and RB Leipzig at Ibrox Stadium on May 05, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/). Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/)

Rangers have bolstered the defensive third by roping in ex-Hearts centre-half John Souttar on a Bosman. They have tied down Connor Goldson in a long-term deal, whereas a loan stint with Hajduk Split must have helped Nikola Katic revive his confidence and composure following a long injury layoff.

A Major Setback For Rangers

Having said that, the Gers have parted ways with Leon Balogun and an ongoing injury nightmare has sidelined Helander for an indefinite period. Outcast Jack Simpson is not in Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s plans and the potential departure of Bassey would disrupt their title hunt.

The Super Eagles star first became a regular down the left replacing Borna Barisic. However, his expertise as a left-sided centre-back received a lot of plaudits given he was initially deployed as a makeshift. The former Leicester City academy graduate appeared 50 times last season across competitions and Rangers, therefore, must find someone who would replace him in both roles for years to come.

While he would be a perfect alternative to Martinez at Ajax, the Europa League runners-up might have to bring in two different names to restore balance in the absence of their highly-rated defensive ace.