Ex-Celtic man questions Bassey and Tierney comparisons

Former Celtic Celtic striker Frank McAvennie has hit back at claims that Nigerian defender Calvin Bassey is as good as Kieran Tierney.

The Arsenal defender was one of Scotland’s best while he was at Celtic before he moved to Arsenal in 2019 for £25 million. He won a number of individual awards as a Scottish Premiership player including a number of young player awards in his four seasons as a senior Celtic player.

The 24-year-old defender is highly rated in Scotland and is still considered the best player to feature in the league in the past few seasons by some, three years after his departure. But Bassey has been a revelation this season in his second spell in the Scottish Premiership with Glasgow Rangers, that many are comparing the 22-year-old to the former Celtic man.

Just like Tierney in 2019, many clubs are also interested in Bassey. A reunion with Steven Gerrard at Aston Villa is the most touted in the reports, but there is also a gist of Chelsea weighing up a move for the former Leicester City man. It is understood that Rangers do not want to let him go as manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst has him pegged as an important player, but they could fold if a potentially interesting bid comes in.

The Gers value Bassey at £25 million, the same amount Tierney was sold to Arsenal for which is also the transfer record for a player from the Scottish Premiership. McAvennie spoke out against the valuation as well as the comparison to Tierney, stating that Bassey is not worth the amount as he has done nothing that would make clubs pay that kind of money for him.

“Players are worth what people will pay for them. The club can put these figures on them, good for them, no one is going to pay it,” McAvennie told his interviewers. “I just don’t see how you can compare Bassey and Tierney. Tierney had all these awards and loads of trophies when he went to Arsenal.

“What does Bassey have? He hasn’t played as well or achieved as much as Tierney did but Rangers want the same money? Not for me, I don’t see that happening.”

Peseiro praises Bassey and teammates after first Super Eagles match

Meanwhile, Bassey is currently in the USA on international duty with Nigeria. The Super Eagles have played the first of their two friendlies in preparation for their 2023 African Cup of Nations qualifiers which begin on June 9 against Sierra Leone.

Bassey assisted Nigeria's goal in the 2-1 loss to Mexico in the early hours of Sunday morning and was one of the standout players of the team led by new manager Jose Peseiro.

The Portuguese tactician praised Bassey and the other teammates in his first outing as the Super Eagles boss. He said after the game: “In the first half, Mexico was much better than us. In the second half, I think we had more balance. We had better control of the ball. Our team cannot stay every time but we had much control of the ball.

”In the second half, it was much better. We lost and I think Mexico had more opportunities. It was a loss but I’m happy with the performance of my players. They showed character because after what Mexico did to us in the first half, we improved much in the second half.”

Bassey is sure to be in the next line up against Ecuador as he continues to warm his way into the hearts of Nigerian fans.

This article was most recently revised and updated 4 weeks ago

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