Fraser or Zaha: Which transfer target should Arsenal focus on?

Arsenal Transfer News

It's been a fairly quiet start to the summer on the transfer front for Arsenal, with their only signing so far coming in the form of Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli.

Unai Emery is expected to be pretty busy in the window but it's believed that he's working under strict financial constraints, with a transfer budget of around £45m rumoured to be at his disposal. Not much, especially when you see Manchester United paying £50m for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Manchester City signing the £62.5m Rodri from Atletico Madrid and North London rivals Tottenham breaking their transfer record for Tanguy Ndombele.

The Gunners are one of the biggest clubs in Europe but with them now going into their third successive season without Champions League football, it's evidently hitting their finances.

Controversial owner Stan Kroenke isn't putting the money forward that Arsenal fans demand and need in order to keep up with their rivals both domestically and continentally, so Emery is going to have to do a bit of wheeling and dealing this summer if he's to land his targets.

Unai Emery Arsenal
Unai Emery has been handed the smallest transfer budget of any side in the top six

Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney is believed to be near the top of his shopping list and the Gunners have already had a couple of bids knocked back for the Scotland international. The Bhoys are demanding upwards of £20m for the 22 year-old who's one of the most exciting prospects north of the border.

But it's out wide where they really need to strengthen, with Alex Iwobi the clubs only real natural wide man. The lack of strength in this area led to them playing a 3-5-2 at times last term with Hector Bellerin (when fit) and Saed Kolasinac doing the running at wing-back. This ensured that prolific striking duo Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could line up alongside each other.

But they need a plan B and Emery knows that, hence where the interest in Ryan Fraser and Wilfried Zaha has come from. The pair are up there with the quickest, trickiest players in the Premier League and either would give Arsenal a different option in attack - but they won't come cheap.

The Gunners can realistically only sign one of them this summer but which one should they go for?

Ryan Fraser

Ryan Fraser was player that was unknown to fans of the Premier League a couple of years ago, but now after his best season in terms of goal involvements he's seen as something of a force.

Standing at just 5"5, he isn't the biggest in terms of stature but he uses his low centre of gravity to devastating effect. He has pace to burn, quick feet and superb technical ability - all of which played a part in him registering a massive 14 PL assists last term.

Only then Chelsea man Eden Hazard (15) recorded more over the course of the campaign which shows the esteemed company that he's in. Marking a considerable improvement on the 17/18 season (3) and 16/17 (8), which proves that he's now an established top flight player.

Bournemouth have a gem on their hands but it might not be the case for much longer, with the Scotland international having just 12 months left to run on his contract. If Eddie Howe cannot tie him down to a new deal then it may be a case of cashing in on him now so they don't lose him for free, which will be music to the ears of Unai Emery.

This means he may be available at a discounted price, with a fee around the £25-30m mark believed to the Cherries asking price - which would be a club record sale.

Ryan Fraser
Ryan Fraser may not be a big name addition, but he looks like a real sensible target on paper who could improve Arsenal

He may not be as big a name as someone like Yannick Carrasco who the Gunners are also linked with, but he could prove to be an extremely shrewd purchase. He's improving year-on-year and would certainly add some extra pace and creativity to the Arsenal flanks, something which they're severely lacking at the moment.

But the financial constraints on Emery at the moment may play a part in this move. Despite him being potentially available at a very decent price, the prospect of picking him up for nothing next summer could be at the forefront of his thinking.

This move may not excite Gunners fans like some of the big signings they've made in recent years, but it looks like a sensible move on paper. He's also been endorsed by former Arsenal man Jack Wilshere, who spent a year with the winger when on loan at Bournemouth (2016/17), he told Foootball.London:

‘I think Ryan Fraser would be a great signing. I know him well,

‘He’s probably the hardest working player I’ve ever worked with.

‘He’s got an exceptional attitude. On the pitch he runs around all day – he’s the first one on the pitch in the morning and the last one off it.

Eddie put a lot of trust in him and it’s been rewarded. ‘He’s nurtured him and he’s turned him into a top player – and if he goes to Arsenal I wish him all the luck in the world as he’s a great guy and a great player.’

Wilfried Zaha

The other player strongly linked with a move to Arsenal this summer is Crystal Palace man Wilfried Zaha, who'll cost the Gunners an arm and a leg if he's to move to the Emirates.

The Ivory Coast international, like Fraser, is a proven Premier League player but he's been doing it for much longer than the Scot, with him now in his seventh season in the top flight.

He's Palace's talisman and he's the one that really carries the team, with his influence absolutely crucial to their hopes of staying up each season.

Without him they're a shadow of the side they usually are and with them already losing Aaron Wan-Bissaka this summer, they'll be keen to retain the forward at all costs.

Roy Hodgson is believed to have slapped a massive £80m price tag on him to deter bids, with Arsenal believed to be offering £40m in their opening offer.

It's a huge amount of a money but in reality that is his value to the Eagles. Any deal is going to be a complicated one and just add a little more to the mix, his former club Manchester United still hold a 20% sell on clause. So Palace are keen to milk any potential deal for as much as it's worth.

Wilfried Zaha
An Arsenal fan as a child, Wilfried Zaha is trying to push through a transfer to the Emirates Stadium

Whilst Zaha plays in a similar position to that of Fraser but he offers very different attributes. The Ivorian is a versatile, physical presence capable of playing anywhere across the forward line. His dribbling ability is amongst the best in the Premier League and he wins lots of penalties because of this, with no side claiming more than the Eagles last term.

Last season was his best return in terms of goals scored (10) and playing in a much more forward thinking, creative side should result in much more opportunities to build on that. He's a player who gets fans off their seats and would represent a significant upgrade on what they have.

Zaha is up there with the most exciting attacking players the top flight has to offer and if Arsenal could sign him and successfully incorporate him into a front three alongside Auabameyang and Lacazette, it could have devastating consequences.

We think he's a much better fit for Arsenal than that of Fraser and he's more proven, but the massive price tag is an issue. He's well out of the Gunners' ball park financially at the moment so players may have to be moved on. So from that perspective, the Scot looks like the more appealing transfer.

But if Arsenal could somehow fund a move for Zaha then get Fraser on a free next summer, that would be excellent business. Over to you Mr Emery...


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