Ryan Fraser will be saying goodbye to Bournemouth this summer.
The 26-year-old Scottish winger has been a cornerstone under Eddie Howe at Dean Court, but there were doubts surrounding his future with his deal up in the summer.
With the Premier League resuming and no new contract on the cards, a short-term extension was offered to Fraser to enable him to see out the campaign. However, Bournemouth have announced that offer was rejected, with the expectation being you will not be seeing him don a Cherries shirt anytime soon – as there are just two games before his contract is up.
Attention understandably moves to where he could be playing his football, with no shortage of interested parties according to reports, and rightfully so. Fraser is among the most creative wingers playing in England’s top division and he’s pretty handy when it comes to dead-ball situations when in form
But where is Fraser likely to move, in a transfer window that will be as unpredictable as ever, with uncertainties over which teams can do business? What follows are contenders to become his next destination; a dream option, a realistic choice, a wildcard selection and from those categories our suggestions.
Dream: Top six
Every player that dreams of playing elite football wants to challenge themselves at the highest level and it doesn’t get any bigger at club level than Europe’s premier competition. Fraser will no doubt be dreaming about hearing the iconic Champions League anthem, which could become reality.
The soon-to-be English champions Liverpool were linked recently, which is no surprise given their policy when it comes to signings under the leadership of Jurgen Klopp, that being purchasing under the radar players — most notably Fraser’s compatriot Andy Robertson — and developing them even further.
Any interest would no doubt excite him, but it has since started to cool off. But that doesn’t mean representing one of English football’s elite teams is no longer a consideration for Fraser.
A year ago, Fraser’s name was heavily linked with Arsenal, who desperately sought to bolster their wing options, and they could swoop in for the free agent especially if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaves thus vacating a forward spot. This wouldn’t be a straight-replacement in terms of what Fraser would bring to Arsenal, but more of a positional one with Aubameyang playing out wide under Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal appear unlikely to be involved in European football next season, but that would allow Fraser and the Gunners a fresh run at breaking back into the Champions League.
Tottenham have also looked at Fraser, but it appears they are content following Steven Bergwijn’s arrival in January, plus boss Jose Mourinho is likely to strengthen other positions in the window.
Squawka Suggests: Arsenal
Leaving Bournemouth for a top-six team is not exactly outside the realm of possibility, especially for a player of Fraser’s ability, but it could seem unlikely given football’s current situation.
Those super clubs that inhabit the higher places of the Premier League may decide to overlook Fraser, on the account of being set in his position. This would open the door for the league’s mid-table crew which, in the grand scheme of things, presents a step up from what he’s been experiencing this season.
A number of sides have already shown interest notably Crystal Palace and Newcastle United, while recent reports claim Fraser has his heart set on joining Everton. But of the three aforementioned clubs, Fraser’s focus should be on an immediate call to action and regular playing time, which would come at Selhurst Park.
If Palace lose Wilfried Zaha as some expect, then Fraser would be a logical replacement, despite contrasting styles. The Eagles would also immensely benefit from his creativity when on form, having one of the worst attacks in the Premier League, with only Newcastle and Norwich scoring fewer.
Squawka Suggests: Crystal Palace
Wildcard: Premier League exit
The chances of Fraser leaving the Premier League outright seems remote, as there haven’t been any strong links from outside England’s top-flight, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. We’ve seen an increasing number of British footballers move abroad, particularly to Germany, and it wouldn’t be surprising if a Bundesliga club had been quietly keeping tabs.
However, if Fraser were to leave England’s top division then chances are ghzg he would head north of the border. The former Aberdeen man played 21 times in the Scottish Premiership, and had six assists to show for it, but a return home isn’t what we envisage. It goes back to playing in Europe, and testing yourself, perennial champions Celtic can offer him that package.
Squawka Suggests: Celtic