The common belief is that Eddie Howe and Ryan Fraser’s reunion at Newcastle United will be an incredibly awkward one.
Fraser decided not to sign a new deal at Bournemouth towards the end of the 2019/20 season – a time where any soon-to-be out of contract players had to extend their contract if they wanted to feature in a run in severly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.
As we know, the Cherries went on to suffer relegation and Fraser – a free agent at the time – was slated by Bournemouth fans.
However, if you look back to his comments just a few days after signing for Newcastle United, he insists that there is “no negativity” between him and Howe, claiming he met the 43-year-old for coffee and still talks to Jason Tindall – Howe’s trusted assistant who is set to join him on Tyneside.
Here’s what Fraser had to say about it all when asked about his controversial Bournemouth exit last September:
“I made the decision not to play and got battered for it.
“Everyone has their own opinions but at the end of the day I need to look after myself. My contract was done so it’s not like I refused to play any games.
“Nobody saw this virus coming. If the virus didn’t come I would have played every game under my contract.
“Some lads in the Premier League signed an extension, and fair play to them. But for me, at my age, knowing that Newcastle wanted me, it was just a decision I had to make.
“I’m always going to get criticised.
“I wish Bournemouth the best of luck and I still talk to Jason Tindall [the new manager].
“Two weeks ago I met Eddie Howe in a coffee shop and spoke to him for about an hour. There are no hard feelings.”
“There’s no negativity between us.”
“I didn’t want Bournemouth to go down, it would have been a lot easier if they’d stayed up.
With me playing, without being big headed, I think I would have helped massively.
“I wasn’t sad. I was gutted.”
So, are fears he’s facing an awkward reunion actually a load of rubbish?
With Fraser and Wilson a lethal combination under Howe, it will be a huge boost to our survival hopes if our new man can get the 27-year-old back to his best.
He bagged eight goals and 15 assists during his last full season on the South Coast and had an almost telepathic connection with our current top scorer.
Let’s hope our “wee man” – the name Howe gave Fraser during training sessions – makes up for lost time on Tyneside and shows us why we were initially so happy to have signed him on a free last summer.