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Buy All The Left Wingers!

Wouldn’t you know it? Last night I settled down, this page open, and ready to chart the performances of Yannick Carrasco and Ryan Fraser in the Belgium versus Scotland Euro 20 qualifier in Brussels. The team sheets went up, and both were on their respective benches. Just my luck!

Fraser did get on for the last hour and actually looked the pick of a Scotland side that not surprisingly were second best on the night to a team that finished in third place in last summer’s World Cup.

Until recently these were being touted as the most likely attacking additions to the squad, and I seriously doubt with limited funds that we would buy both. Reports, largely originating in European press sources, have suggested that we are close to pipping Bayern Munich to Carrasco’s signing and that the haggling over his price from his Chinese club, Dalian Yifang, is now the final brick in the wall. I’m dubious about us not agreeing a fee of £25m for a young Belgian international.

I’ve been further persuaded to the benefits attached to signing Fraser from Bournemouth. First and foremost he is a ‘homegrown’ player, and remember we had to play the latter stages of the Europa League with a reduced squad because we didn’t have sufficient numbers of those, and we have already lost Rambo and Danny Welbeck this summer.

John Welsh, with whom I often enjoy a shared platform on A Bergkamp Wonderland, made the point that he would lean towards Fraser simply because Carrasco’s decision to go to China suggests that his main motivation is money, and not the club. That is a valid point, and he does not have the Premier League knowledge and experience that Fraser would bring. Fraser shouldn’t need a year to settle in, and the language barrier would be slightly less of an issue with the Scot!

My mind made up, I ventured into Twitter again today, only to read of our apparent interest in Ismaila Sarr. Where does he principally play, I hear those of you who have forgotten his performances for Rennes against us in the Europa League ask? He actually caused us real issues all across the front line, but is more often than not found on the left wing even though he is right footed. He has pace to burn, and looks decent value at a rumoured £30m.

But wait, what more is being written about him? The excellent Layth Yousif, writing for Football.London, wrote of “Rennes hoping for a bidding war for Sarr, with Monaco and Premier League pair Leicester City and Watford interested, along with Serie A giants Inter Milan and Roma”.

There is a powerful whiff of an agent and a club looking to maximise the fee, and then wages, for their ‘asset’. I’m not sure we will be playing those games with our rumoured budget. Again he may take time to settle in the Premier League.

I can’t wait to open up Twitter tomorrow and read the latest rumours. Especially if we are linked with…. who plays left wing for Dortmund these days?

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