Ajax chief executive Edwin van der Sar has advised Nigerian defender Calvin Bassey to improve following his comparison with Argentina defender Lisandro Martínez.
The 22-year-old was signed as Martínez’s replacement after the Argentine left Ajax for Manchester United in the summer, but the Super Eagles centre-back has struggled to impress at the Johan Cruyff Arena since his arrival.
Bassey has been largely criticized for his poor performances since arriving from Glasgow Rangers for a club-record transfer fee of €23m. He has been deployed in multiple positions across the backline but he still hasn’t found that form he showed while in Scotland.
Bassey, who has been with the Amsterdam giants for five months now, has been heavily criticized for his poor performances and inability to mimic Martinez's phenomenal form.Bassey, who has been with the Amsterdam giants for five months now, has been heavily criticized for his poor performances and inability to mimic Martinez's phenomenal form.
Legendary Manchester United goalkeeper Van der Sar noted that Bassey had not yet reached the level of Martínez at Ajax, noting that he had the qualities to become a world-class defender, but must work hard to replicate the fine form that made the club sign him in July.
“Lisandro Martínez was a top defender with us last season, on the field and also in the dressing room,” Van der Sar Voetbal Zone.
“Calvin also has qualities, but will still have to improve to get to that level. That is very logical, and Martínez also had that development with us. Just think of two years ago, when Martínez spent a lot of time on the bench.
The Ajax boss said comparing Bassey with Martínez was not fair on the Nigerian, who has spent just five months with the Dutch champions.
“It takes time to grow; it is not fair to judge Bassey directly on the level of Martínez.”
Despite the constant criticisms the youngster has received, Ajax manager Alfred Schreuder has kept faith with the former Glasgow Rangers defender and has handed him 19 starts in all competitions so far this season.
This article was most recently revised and updated 6 months ago