Fulham look set to soon complete the signing of Calvin Bassey from Ajax. The Premier League side is reportedly paying the Dutch club around $23 million for the defender. Fulham previously had a bid of about $19 million rejected by Ajax, but quickly returned with an acceptable offer.

Ajax head coach Maurice Steijn admitted on Saturday that he told Bassey it would be better if he joined Fulham. The coach was brutally honest in his assessment of the defender, essentially telling him that he wouldn’t play much in the upcoming season. “Also because of the money. Because if he goes, we can strengthen ourselves considerably,” Steijn told Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf. “I told him that honestly.”

“He had a very tough year last season. Everyone gets a second chance and if he does better than anyone else he will play. But chances are, especially if we get a new left back or left central defender, he won’t play.”

Dutch club to break even on Bassey investment

Bassey only just joined Ajax from Rangers last summer in a deal worth $23 million. The Dutch side will essentially break even on their investment with the impending sale to Fulham. A Nigeria international, Bassey was a mainstay in Ajax’s defense for much of the first half of the 2022/23 season. However, he fell out of favor in the spring and managed just two Eredivisie appearances in the club’s final eight games.

Move could affect USMNT defender

Nevertheless, Fulham will hope that the player just needs a change of scenery. Although the Cottagers finished in the top half of the table last season, they did allow the second-most goals of any club inside the top 12 of the division. Fulham boss Marco Silva could deploy Bassey alongside USMNT defender Tim Ream in the back line. However, the club could also see the Nigerian as a long-term replacement for the 35-year-old American.

Bassey’s move to London will be the third significant departure for Ajax this summer. They have also sold Jurrien Timber to Arsenal and terminated Dusan Tadic’s contract.

Photo credit: IMAGO / ANP