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Mikel Arteta eyeing Ryan Fraser bargain as Arsenal boss plots transfer to save millions

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is keeping a close eye on Ryan Fraser's contract situation at Bournemouth with the Scot set to be available on a free transfer at the end of the season. Fraser was linked to the Gunners under Unai Emery last month and admitted in the build-up to the summer window that he was flattered by the speculation.

"I'm not going to lie, it's very nice. It means you are are doing something right. They are a huge club, a massive club," he said of Arsenal.

"When you see your name thrown around you always think to yourself that you are a Bournemouth player and you try to do well. I'm not going to lie, you do feel good, especially when it's a massive club."

But Bournemouth kept hold of the 26-year-old winger, who produced seven goals and 14 assists in 38 games the Premier League last season but only has one goal and four assists from 24 outings this term.

However, the Scotland international has refused to sign a new deal with the south coast club and appears headed towards the exit door with his current terms expiring on June 30. 

There is uncertainty as to whether Fraser will actually leave the Vitality Stadium after that date, however, due to the current Premier League break.

No fixtures have been played in the English top flight since March 9 and none will be played before April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier League clubs will meet next month to discuss how they can complete the current campaign but it looks likely fixtures may have to be pushed back until July.

But with clubs desperate not to lose out-of-contract or on-loan players before the season ends, it is expected they will seek a compromise in order to extend star's deals to ensure they do not leave with fixtures still to play.

And the Daily Mirror say Arsenal boss Arteta is looking to see what happens with the diminutive wide-man as he considers pouncing to pick up the player on a free.

READ MORE Who is the Premier League's most overrated player? It's the Big Debate

Arteta is keen to bolster his squad but will have limited funds with which to do so and he is expected to concentrate the money he does have on his defence and midfield.

But with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang potentially leaving the Emirates this summer, when he will have only 12 months left on his Arsenal contract, the Gunners boss wants to add to his options in the final third.

Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard has also been mentioned as a possible target, while No 10s such as Jonathan David of Gent or Feyenoord's Orkun Kokcu are also on the radar.

Fraser is predominantly a winger and can play on the right flank or the left, though he has played briefly as a central attacking midfielder under Eddie Howe.

And he recently claimed his drop in productivity is down to his failed move to Arsenal last summer.

He told BBC Sport Solent: "I think everyone knows by now what has happened, to be honest with you.

“It obviously affected me in the first four months of the season, I wasn’t myself and I didn’t play for the team, I’m honest enough to admit that.

“I look back at it and I spoke to my family about it, and it just looked bad on me, I didn’t help the team, so the last month or so I have been trying to put it right, and yes it shouldn’t have had to take me that long to realise, but I am my own worst critic and I apologise to the lads and that’s all I can do.

“I can only move on now and try my best."

Bournemouth captain Simon Francis expressed his fear that Fraser could depart the Cherries before the campaign is concluded.

He said earlier this month: "If you are a free agent in the summer and you have interest from other clubs and then the season is going to be extended through June, July or even August, what position does that leave you in mentally? How are you going to go about it?

"Would you sign a short-term contract with the club you are currently at and commit your short-term future? Or do you think, ‘No, this club wants me for next season, I’ll hold off’?

"If the season does go beyond June 30, we are going to need Ryan (Fraser) because he would play a massive part in our fight to stay up.

"It is all a bit of a headache??—??and that is only in the Premier League."

For more news relating to Celtic, visit our sister site Celtic Live.
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