The Ryan Fraser experiment has yet to work out for Newcastle United.
What’s the story?
“Fraser for me doesn’t look like he wants to be here,” he said.
“You’re asking me an honest question and I’m giving you my opinion from what I am seeing – he doesn’t look like he wants to be here.
“It looks to me like he feels he’s a made a mistake coming to Newcastle.
“We are not seeing the Ryan Fraser which we saw at Bournemouth, and we know with him it could be a situation where if he’s not happy, he’s not performing and that is what it looks like at the minute.”
Is he right?
It’s certainly something worth thinking about.
After all, this is someone who left Bournemouth in the lurch in the post-lockdown period after refusing to return in order to focus on his own career. Now, anyone is obviously entitled to do what they believe is best for themselves but it was a decision widely criticised.
That doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision per se (again, it’s hard to suggest anything is right or wrong in a personal situation) but it does suggest he’s got aspirations of furthering his own career on his terms.
Indeed, even upon signing for Newcastle, it was reported that he was delaying on whether or not to join to see if the club signed Callum Wilson first. Again, that doesn’t exactly speak to a player overly keen on a move to St. James’ Park if they weren’t capable of doing what he wanted.
Obviously, the problems the team have endured this season haven’t made it easy for the 26-year-old and a number of niggling injuries have prevented him from getting a sustained run in the side. Clearly, not everything is his fault but the signs don’t exactly look promising.
Hopefully, Fraser can prove the doubters wrong.
An effective attacking outlet at his best, he does rank amongst the highest for averages in terms of key passes (currently second to Matt Ritchie with 1.3 per game via WhoScored) and has proven he can regularly contribute assists, racking up an impressive 14 during the 2018/19 campaign with Bournemouth.
With Wilson out, Steve Bruce needs all the help he can get on that front and Fraser is the only real wide option with a genuine history of creating goals at this level.
If he can do that, things might just work out after all.