While the January transfer window saw Newcastle United move on the likes of Karl Darlow and Jonjo Shelvey, one figure who somewhat surprisingly remained at St James’ Park beyond deadline day was diminutive winger, Ryan Fraser.
The Scotland international has largely endured an underwhelming spell on Tyneside since sealing his free transfer move from Bournemouth back in the summer of 2020, having scored just three goals and provided only six assists in 59 games across all fronts to date.
The expectation had been that the 28-year-old would be one of those to seal a move away from the club during the winter window, with Football Insider reporting back in December that the peripheral figure was one of four first-team assets who had been deemed surplus to requirements by PIF.
Football Transfers then claimed at the turn of the year that the northeast side were looking for a fee of around €8m (£7m) in order to allow the one-time Ipswich Town man to depart, while The Athletic’s Chris Waugh revealed that the 26-cap speedster was deemed the club’s “most-saleable asset” among those who manager Eddie Howe was willing to lose.
As it proved, however, despite that rampant speculation – and with the player himself having previously angled for a move over the summer – Fraser ultimately stayed put, with Newcastle now left to pay a salary for a player who appears to have “no future” at the club, in the words of pundit Tam McManus.
How much has Ryan Fraser cost Newcastle?
While the Magpies were able to avoid having to pay a transfer fee when they initially brought the 5 foot 4 dud to Tyneside, it will still sting that they have potentially wasted money on forking out for the player’s reported £42k-per-week salary in recent seasons.
In fact, by the end of the current campaign, the Aberdeen youth product will have cost the club around £5.8m with regard to wages alone, with it still not a guarantee that the wide man will move on this summer with just over two years left to run on his current deal.
In truth, as McManus stated last month, it could well prove a “grim” few months for Fraser as he finds himself firmly out of the picture under his former Cherries boss Howe, having only made eight league appearances so far this season – the last of which came way back in October.
Having been unable to even earn a place during the club’s Carabao Cup run, it is hard to see the Scotsman being able to force his way back into contention for a regular role any time soon, particularly following the £45m arrival of Anthony Gordon which has provided further competition on the flanks.
While injury has played its part in Fraser’s lack of action over the past few seasons, it has simply proven a rather costly mistake with regard to signing him in the first place.