LONDON (Reuters) - Ryan Fraser has played his last game for Bournemouth after manager Eddie Howe confirmed the Scottish winger has opted against a short extension to his contract that ends on June 30.
The 26-year-old, who joined Bournemouth from Aberdeen in 2013, has been a key component in Howe’s side but they will have to do without him for their remaining nine Premier League games as they try to avoid being relegated.
“I don’t think I was particularly surprised by his decision. I think it’s been clear to us as a club for some time that Ryan wasn’t going to sign a new contract with us,” Howe told reporters ahead of Saturday’s home game against Crystal Palace.
“He’s now played his last game for the football club, he won’t be involved with us for the last nine games.”
Fraser was voted supporters Player of the Year last season and while he will be missed, Howe believes his squad is now stronger than before the three-month suspension of the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Winger David Brooks will be available against Palace after recovering from a long-term ankle problem while captain Simon Francis, midfielder Andrew Surman, fullback Charlie Daniels and second-choice keeper Artur Boruc have all agreed short-term contract extensions to see them through the season.
“I only want players who are fully focused on the relegation battle that we have ahead and I’m looking forward to doing that with my squad,” he said. “We certainly had a number of injuries as the season was shutting down. This is now the strongest squad I’ve had to choose from all season.”
Howe’s side are third from bottom and facing a crucial month if they are to retain their top-flight status.
“These are the most important games this football club has had in recent times,” he said.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis