Arsenal will be waiting to see what happens on Wednesday before deciding on their transfer strategy for the summer. A victory over Chelsea in the Europa League final will clinch a Champions League spot for next season, which will provide a huge boost to both their transfer budget and reputation. Until their fate has been decided, transfer rumours in the media need to be treated with caution.
One of the main rumours to emerge regarding the Gunners has been a potential swoop for Bournemouth midfielder Ryan Fraser. The Bournemouth winger has had a great Premier League season, contributing seven goals and 14 assists. This has been his best campaign in the top-flight and at the age of 25, he will be looking to push on over the coming years.
The Independent report that Arsenal are stepping up their interest in light of Fraser’s excellent last 12 months. The Scotland international is entering the final year of his contract with the Cherries, which means that Bournemouth will be open to selling their star man. A fee of £30 million is mentioned in the article, but there is a possibility that a lower fee could be agreed to take his contractual situation into account.
Although this won’t be a transfer rumour that gets Arsenal supporters too excited, it could represent a shrewd piece of business for the club if the fee is a reasonable one. Fraser has stood out for a bottom-half side with some excellent performances. Only Eden Hazard managed to contribute more assists in the Premier League this season, which emphasises how well the 25-year-old performed this season. He provides natural width down the left-hand side, with an ability to deliver dangerous crosses, in addition to a direct goal threat when he drifts inside.
If Arsenal are interested, it suggests that Unai Emery could be tempted to move to a formation that allows him to start Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang together on a regular basis. The duo are the undoubted stars of the Gunners’ team and they need to find a way to get the best out of both on a weekly basis.
A switch to a 3-5-2 formation could provide the balance that Emery is looking for, although this will only be an option if the club brings in a higher calibre of defender as that is a genuine weakness in the current squad. If that is their thinking, a move for Fraser could make a lot of sense. He can operate as a left winger with creativity and he works hard off the ball, something that the Arsenal manager expects of his players.
This deal will depend on the price. Arsenal should only consider it if they can get Bournemouth to significantly lower their £30 million asking price. The club won’t spend big money and they won’t want to see a significant portion of their budget go on a player that may not be able to step up to a higher level. It would represent a risk, but one that could pay off big time.