The Independent are reporting that Arsenal are preparing to make a formal bid for Ryan Fraser after the Europa League Final.
This has been rumored for a while, and it looks likely that Fraser will leave Bournemouth this summer. Fraser has one year left on his contract and it is noted in the article that talks between Bournemouth and Fraser have broken down. With the likelihood of an extension dwindling, Bournemouth are motivated to sell now instead of losing him as a free agent next summer (A move forever now known as the Aaron Ramsey).
Fraser has been one of the top creative players this season in the Premier League, with 93 key passes this season, third most in the league. He also assisted 14 goals this season, which was the second most.
Creativity is something that Arsenal could use, especially from the wide forward positions.
Fraser’s creative ability does come with some trade offs. For a forward, he doesn’t produce a ton of shots (another thing that Arsenal really need), he doesn’t do a lot of defensive actions, and produces below average xG per 90.
This season he has added 7 goals, but that was about 50% more than what his expected goals would suggest.
He looks to be a good, but not great player. He is entering his peak years so that is a positive but he probably isn’t the type of player that would take Arsenal from the 5th or 6th most talented team and turn them into the 3rd or 4th most talented team.
There is also the rumored transfer fee and how that fits into Arsenal’s budget. The Independent article puts the transfer fee that Bournemouth are looking at as £30 million. With Arsenal rumored to be looking at a net spend transfer budget in the 40-60 million pound range, that is a large chunk of the summer.
His profile reminds me a lot of Xherdan Shaqiri in his last season at Stoke City before he moved to Liverpool.
Shaqiri ended up being a good signing for Liverpool, but that was based on him being primarily a rotation player and only costing around 15 million pounds.
If Fraser can be signed for around that fee, with the expectation of being a rotation player, it is something that would make sense for Arsenal; otherwise this move might be something to pass on.