Reports in Holland tonight strongly suggest that there continue to be hard questions asked of the Ajax manager and those above him at the club about the size of the transfer fee that they allegedly paid for the ex-Ibrox defender Calvin Bassey.
When that deal was being mooted, every single Celtic site was incredulous at that figure. None of us could believe that it was real. We don’t actually know how real it has turned out to be; the accounts which will reveal it are due next year. But it was high enough that even some in Dutch football were getting a nosebleed from it when it was announced.
That figure is ridiculous. We know it’s ridiculous because it’s reputed to be in eight figures. Any deal for that sort of cash has to represent not just value for money, but a value that is visible in the transaction. If the number is accurate then it will represent one of the most expensive deals in the history of the Dutch club. They needed to get it right.
There is no sign that Bassey is worth, or is going to be worth, that mountain of money that the club paid for him. When we said this at first there were accusations of bias and of us looking at it through green tinted specs. Are the Dutch press biased? Are they looking at it through green tinted specs, or are they only just now seeing what we saw first?
The Ajax boss actually had to sit in front of them the other day and plead his case with them. Of course the player was scouted, he said. Isn’t it a bad day when a manager has to confirm that he didn’t pluck a signings name out of a goldfish bowl?
This does not reflect well on him, at all, but it reflects even more badly on Ibrox who hyped this guy as some kind of sensation and who held him up as the proof that their “transfer strategy” was finally starting to bear fruit.
Look at their squad; there is no sign of re-sale value there, not even in the much hyped Kamara, upon whom they are pinning their hopes for a January bonanza to give the manager money to spend. It’s a forlorn hope.
They have sold two players for eight figure sums in the past year. One of them can’t get a game for Everton and the other is the subject of widespread derision in Holland. They wanted to ape our transfer strategy. What a dismal failure their efforts have been. Clubs who might come in for their guys now would do well to question what they hear … and they would do even better if they actually watched them a few times before spending a penny.
No matter what he says, I cannot believe that the Ajax boss has a clear idea of what he was buying before he sanctioned a £20 million fee for this guy. Neither can those who watch him play in the Dutch league every week.