YOU just need to take a quick glance at social media and the plethora of stories coming out of various media outlets to realise Calvin Bassey is very much a man in demand.

The 22-year-old has enjoyed a spectacular season in a Rangers jersey culminating in a colossal display in last week’s Europa League final in Seville.

A number of clubs have been said to be keeping tabs on the Nigerian international including the likes of Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Dortmund, Wolves and Newcastle.

But it’s Aston Villa whose interest seems the strongest as they look to go about reuniting Bassey with former Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard. 

Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett tweeted yesterday the Midlands outfit have enquired about his availability. Other established journalists also reported similar.

It’s important to stress, it’s our understanding there have been no official enquiries to Rangers. 

And if we investigate Villa’s apparent interest in closer detail, it doesn’t seem to tally up with the business they have conducted so far, just a few days into the close season.

The Villans have agreed to sign Sevilla defender Diego Carlos for £26m and Marseille's Boubacar Kamara on a free as well as making Phillipe Coutinho’s move a permanent one from Barcelona for £18m.

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While Coutinho was already on loan, the move for Carlos and Kamara went through with very little fanfare prior to their acquisition. That fits with how Gerrard operated through his time at Ibrox. He doesn't like noise around recruitment. 

And while Villa may have serious cash to burn but it doesn’t make sense for them to be declaring a public interest when they know it has the potential to start a bidding war with other interested parties weighing up making a bid. Factor in Gerrard’s obvious close links with the club and it seems somewhat strange that a story like this would emerge, particularly given the three months remaining of the transfer window.

That said, there is no question that Bassey is a player that should be attracting the attention of clubs all across Europe.

In what is his first proper season playing regular senior football, he has been a revelation. Credit must not only go to Bassey himself but Giovanni van Bronckhorst and the Rangers coaching staff for developing his game and turning him into a top-class centre back as well as being an outstanding talent at left-back.

When he does eventually leave, he will only depart for a club-record fee, of that there is no doubt. Understandably, comparisons with Kieran Tierney have been made given the former Celtic man's similar profile as a left-back who has the capacity to move inside to a more central role. He was transferred to Arsenal for £25m which is the fee the Rangers Review understands would be the only acceptable starting point in any Bassey negotiations.

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However, it’s important to note there are major differences in both players that should push Bassey's fee even higher. For a start, Tierney’s injury issues have meant he has only been available for two-thirds of the Gunners' season last term. Bassey, on the other hand, has been available for over 90% of matches since joining the Light Blues from Leicester City with the only period he was unavailable being the time he was suspended by the club for a Covid policy breach.

Bassey is also two-and-a-half years younger and with arguably greater potential to grow as a footballer. While Tierney was and is an excellent player when fit, he doesn't have the same explosive baseline of power that marks Bassey out.

As mentioned previously, it’s hard to comprehend this is his first full season in men’s senior football, playing week in and week out. He ticks all the boxes of a modern-day defender, especially in a Premier League which values athleticism so highly, not to mention he is left-footed which usually adds a premium to a selling price.

It’s also worth noting his fantastic recovery pace. We were all left open-mouthed in disbelief when what appeared to be a fatal slip in the Europa League final that saw Filip Kostic bear down towards goal only for Bassey to somehow trackback at breakneck speed before putting in a crucial defensive block. In the Premiership last season, only five players managed to dribble past him across the entire term. It’s an astounding statistic and only adds to his appeal as a natural defender who has a full armoury skillset.

Rangers Review:

You have to be something special to get the better of Bassey and something special is certainly what he is.

Factor in his status as 'homegrown' for Premier League clubs, enabling them to hit their required quotas and you can see why the interest is there. 

Thankfully, the youngster is understood to be loving life in Glasgow and at Rangers. He's in no hurry to leave. The club are relaxed about the current situation and is in no rush to sell.

It goes without saying, should an offer come in that blows everyone away then there will be a decision to be made.

But with Rangers buoyed by a lucrative European run, the potential for Champions League football still a possibility and two years left on the player's current deal, the club remain in a solid position to drive a hard bargain.

However, at this point, Bassey is a Rangers player and is expected to be one when the players return for pre-season.