West Ham have been tipped to test Rangers’ resolve for lockdown rebel Calvin Bassey this summer by former Premier League striker Kevin Phillips.
What’s the word?
Steven Gerrard named and shamed five players – Bassey, Brian Kinnear, Bongani Zungu, Dapo Mebude and Nathan Patterson – who were allegedly caught breaking lockdown rules at an illegal house party last weekend.
All five find themselves in hot water with the Scottish FA set to launch an investigation into the matter that could mean further sanctions for the aforementioned players, with Zungu and Bassey having only just joined the club in the summer.
Phillips told soccer Insider: “I think they will have an eye on the situation.
“West Ham might think to test the water in the summer just in case the club do want to move him on.
“It is a tough one because when you make a mistake everyone jumps on you but Stevie G isn’t daft. I think he will give him the benefit of the doubt.
“I’d presume that he wants to keep Bassey for next season. The last thing you want to do is win the Championship and then get rid of one of your best young player because he has slipped up during the previous season.
“Bassey is a talented player so I would be surprised if Stevie G was to move him on. If anyone was to make an enquiry I think he would squash that straight away.”
Gerrard has shown a ruthless streak when it comes to dealing with those unfortunate souls who have crossed the boundary but he also needs to look at the bigger picture.
Yes, Bassey broke coronavirus protocols. And yes, we might be being just a tad hypocritical – after all, we didn’t afford George Edmundson and Jordan Jones with such comfort and luxury.
Rangers are trying to push on to the next level under Gerrard and the Rangers manager knows he needs his best players around him if they are to take the next step in their development.
On the one hand, Gerrard wants to set a certain precedent about the level of discipline and respect he demands from his players, on the other he will only know too well how selling a young prospect like current Chelsea star Billy Gilmour can cause the club irreparable financial damage in the long-term.
He has even openly admitted how important Bassey is to his future plans for the 54-time Scottish champions, describing him as a “rough diamond” who can be turned into the finished article.
Despite his age, the 21-year-old left-back has settled into life at Ibrox in a rather promising fashion, barring his most recent indiscretion.
Full of energy and tenacity, the young defender has demonstrated an insatiable appetite for work and a fighting spirit. Indeed, he’s extremely effective at winning the ball back for his team, as evident by his one interception per 90 in the Scottish Premiership, that being the sixth-best out of the entire Rangers squad and better than the likes of Connor Goldson and Filip Helander.
Relishing working under Gerrard’s tutelage, Bassey will undoubtedly continue become a key component as Rangers take the next steps towards the next phase of their development.
For all of the above reasons mentioned, therefore, Rangers shouldn’t even begin to entertain such an offer if the opportunity arises.
AND in other news, Latest Rangers off-field drama exposes glaring weakness amid investigation…