Newcastle parted ways with manager Steve Bruce earlier this month following Saudi Arabian consortium PIF’s official takeover of the club.
Bruce kept the Magpies in the Premier League in both of his full seasons on Tyneside, but that was not enough to save him from the sack after Mike Ashley decided to sell to PIF.
One reason why they may have let him go could have been his use of the funds he was given in the transfer market, with a number of players arriving and failing to make a positive impression – one being Scottish international Ryan Fraser.
The winger had enjoyed some terrific years in the Premier League with Bournemouth. He produced 12 goals and 17 assists between the 2017/18 and 2018/19 top-flight campaigns, with Transfermarkt valuing him at a whopping £27m in the summer of 2019.
Fraser then endured a difficult year as he scored once and provided four assists in 28 league games, before becoming involved in controversy as he refused to play the final nine matches.
Former Crystal Palace owner and current pundit Simon Jordan hit out at the winger after he opted against playing for Bournemouth in Project Restart last year. He said:
“To me, he’s saying to Bournemouth: ‘I could have helped you, but I couldn’t be bothered to do so’. You’d have him with you in the trenches…”
“I’m not suggesting you should have loyalty beyond the realms of your contract but in exceptional times, which we’re in now, you need exceptional people.
“And if I’m Newcastle, I’m looking at this wretched individual thinking: ‘When it came to adversity you didn’t want to stand up’.”
At the time of the move to St. James’ Park, Transfermarkt valued Fraser at £15.75m. This meant that he was worth £11.25m less than he was the previous summer, showing that Newcastle were signing a player on a downwards spiral after a difficult season with the Cherries.
The downward trend continued as he endured a rough debut season in black and white. He played 22 games in all competitions, scoring once and providing three assists – with his solitary goal coming in the League Cup.
At the time of writing (28/10/21), Transfermarkt value Fraser at £9m. This is down £6.75m from last summer and £18m in two years, with his worrying slide in terms of performances on the pitch causing his value to plummet since 2019.
Whilst Newcastle did not pay a transfer fee for Fraser, they are reportedly paying him £62k-per-week and signed him on a five-year deal in 2020. This means that they could end up paying him as much as £16.38m by the end of his contract, assuming he is not sold to another club before the end of that deal.
That is a huge chunk of change for a player who is regressing in quality and value. It is easy to forget about the hidden cost of a ‘free transfer’ and Fraser’s wages coupled with his performances on the pitch show that Newcastle have had a transfer howler with the forward. The fact he has started this season without a goal or assist in seven games does not help his case either…