It was confirmed earlier this week that when the current Premier League season enters the month of July, Ryan Fraser will no longer be a Bournemouth player.
The Scottish winger’s contract will expire on June 30th and he has made the decision not to extend his deal with the Seasiders for the remainder of this campaign following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bournemouth, who are currently in the relegation zone with 9 games to play, will be without one of their key players for the big run-in now and Eddie Howe has confirmed that Fraser won’t feature for the club again as he turns his attentions to player’s who are committed. Howe said:
“This isn’t the end for him that we wanted or that I know he wanted for his time at the club. Personally, do I feel let down? No. I would prefer to focus on players I do have available.”
It brings to an end Fraser’s career at the Vitality Stadium, after 203 appearances and 24 goals in all competitions.
Fraser has been linked with a move to Arsenal and Tottenham in the coming summer, with both sides looking to rebuild without spending heavily due to the current pandemic.
These links are likely to have played a big part in his decision to not continue playing. Fraser had a very good season last year with 7 goals and 14 assists in 35 starts but this season has struggled to recapture that form with just 1 goal and 4 assists in 28 appearances.
If these clubs are interested in him and he was to pick up a serious injury during Bournemouth’s relegation scraps, it could put an end to his potential big move but also means he would have no security of a position at Bournemouth either. He could see himself completely clubless and injured to add to it.
It’s an unprecedented situation that footballers are currently finding themselves in, considering all contracts usually expire well after the season ends to avoid this. Obviously he’s not alone.
At Manchester United, Angel Gomes is in the same position although he’s not been a regular by any means this season. Ole Gunnar Solskjær confirmed this week that the club have offered him a new deal which he believes “is pretty close” but also said if Gomes decided against signing it that the club would wish him well in his future.
The problem also occurred in the Championship, when Charlton’s top-scorer Lyle Taylor said he wouldn’t sign a new deal. His contract is also due to expire and he has been linked with a move to the Premier League and Turkey. After manager Lee Bowyer went public with the news, Taylor took to social media to explain his side of the situation.
While fans will of course be unhappy that the players are choosing themselves over the club in this instance, I think a sense of logic needs to come into play here.
These players are humans first. They all have families, bills, expenses and people relying on them. They need to be happy and they need a job. If Fraser or Taylor picked up an injury that put them out of action for a year, the club they currently play for almost certainly wouldn’t re-sign them to a new deal. Fans would of course have no problems with that though.
While it’s absolutely an entertainment for the vast majority, football – and all sports for that matter – is still a job to these athletes. They need to put themselves first sometimes. Whether that’s financially, or forcing a move to another club for game-time. Loyalty is a two-way street and football fans often let their tribalism cloud their vision in these scenarios.