Morning Gooners. Happy Saturday. Not long now until we find out whether this season is a busted flush or glorious chapter in the clubs’ history. But whilst many of us are starting to focus on the Europa League, there are still transfer speculations going on and the one that appears to be properly hotting up at the moment is Ryan Fraser.
I watched him against the Tiny Totts when Bournemouth struggled to break down a defensively sat up team down to nine men. I haven’t seen that much of Bournemouth this season but none of their team impressed me that day and Ryan Fraser also cut a frustrated figure, running the wing, putting balls in only for them to be nodded away time and time again.
It reminded me of so many teams that come to the Emirates to frustrate and if his game is about byline crosses in to the box then signing him might not be the best use of the cash we’ve got. Especially if it is for the reported £30million that is being quoted. Fraser has a year left on his contract, is 25 years old and has only really just come to life statistically last season. But he contributed massively with seven goals and 14 assists in 38 appearances. That’s 55% of games in which he’s had an impact and end product.
The challenge we’ve had this season is an over reliance of Kolasinac our wide. If Fraser is an option on the right with Kolasinac on the right then I think it at least means we have a bit more about us when going forward. At times this past season we’ve been too lop-sided, weighted too heavily on our left hand side of the team, so to get other options on the other side of the pitch would be welcome from my perspective.
I understand that some Arsenal fans may be turning their noses up at Fraser, but as an ‘option’ I think it would be worth a punt providing the price is right. If we go out and get him as an alternative to Mkhitaryan, who we can move on in the summer for example, then I think that’s fair enough. Mkhitaryan’s end product was limited with six goals and four assists in 25 appearances and at 30 years old he’s a player who’s decline is sure to happen pretty quickly. He’s not as much of a wide player as Fraser and we have too many players who would prefer to play centrally as it is.
I think a lot of it comes down to money though. If Arsenal picked up Fraser for between £15-£20million is say it’s worth the risk. I know people will say “who cares about the money it’s not yours” but when you’ve got a club run on a shoestring transfer budget like we appear to be doing on premier league terms this summer, then every additional £10million on a player like Fraser takes away another £10million to spend on other areas of the pitch.
So for me if the deal can be done as a replacement for Mkhitaryan or upgrade on Iwobi, then I’m not against it, because it improves us in a position that has sorely lacked in end product.
I also think we shouldn’t overlook the fact he’s ‘Premier League ready’. We’ve rarely bought footballers from within the Premier League in recent seasons and sometimes you do find a player that steps up. Just look at Andy Robertson from Hull, now at Liverpool, who has been a vast upgrade on Moreno at left back. I’m not suggesting that Fraser can have the same impact but certainly I think he would be better than a fair few players in our team.
So I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I can see the positives and negatives of this signing. If somebody were to tell me he’s the only attacking player we’ll sign in the summer I probably won’t be too excited about that prospect. But if I was to be told he’s one player who will compete in the squad, I’d say we should have a go for it, at the right price of course.
What do you reckon?