When Newcastle United sealed the signing of Ryan Fraser on a free transfer from Bournemouth back in the summer of 2020, it was no surprise to see then manager Steve Bruce wax lyrical about his latest acquisition.
After seeing him put pen to paper on a five-year deal at St James’ Park, Bruce said: “I’m delighted to bring Ryan to Newcastle United. We have held off big competition to get his signature and that says a lot about what this club has to offer.
“His ability and his contributions on the pitch speak for themselves and I’m looking forward to seeing him getting to work in a Newcastle shirt. He has wonderful chemistry on the pitch with Callum Wilson, which excites me, and I hope it excites our supporters ahead of the new season.”
As well as the fact it cost Mike Ashley absolutely nothing in terms of a transfer fee to sign him, Fraser came with the experience of shining in the Premier League and also striking up a great relationship with the Magpies’ other new arrival at the time, Callum Wilson.
In his real standout campaign with Bournemouth back in 2018/19, Fraser racked up seven goals and a whopping 14 assists, proving that he could perform at Premier League level when he’s on song.
His former Bournemouth teammate Eunan O’Kane said: “Ryan has got the world at his feet. He has taken him time to settle, but he has learnt a lot in the six months he has been here. For me he is a dream. I just give him the ball and stand behind him and let him do what he does. He is an outlet and can run with the ball and gives us a different option.”
Meanwhile, former Celtic ace Charlie Nicholas added: “What I like is that he is a little pocket dynamo. He is quite an old-fashioned type of player – what we used to call a tanner ba’ – from the days when Scottish players were very popular. He has a little bit of that.”
Injuries though have plagued his time at St James’ Park, restricting him to just 49 appearances across all competitions, while Wilson’s own fitness struggles have also meant the duo have not really been able to rekindle their flourishing Cherries partnership.
But this season has undeniably seen a leap in improvement from Fraser, especially following the arrival of new manager Eddie Howe.
With the pair having also worked together at Bournemouth, it’s been no surprise to see the Scotland international begin to show signs of just why Newcastle were so excited at beating off the competition to sign him.
While five goal contributions in 25 Premier League games doesn’t sound like much, his displays during the Magpies’ recent good form has set the standard of what he will hope to achieve over the course of a full campaign.
Having picked up an assist in the 2-o victory away at Brentford, Fraser followed that up with a real match-winning display against Brighton the next time out, scoring one and making one in a 2-1 win.