Arteta told to snap up free agents Fraser & Willian as Campbell looks for Arsenal to do cheap deals

Willian Chelsea
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The former Gunners striker accepts that there will be little money to spend in the next window, forcing those in north London to get creative

Mikel Arteta should be looking to snap up Ryan Fraser and Willian as free agents when the 2019-20 campaign comes to a close, says Kevin Campbell, with funds set to be in short supply for Arsenal.

Purse strings in north London were loosened last summer, with a club-record deal for Nicolas Pepe forming part of an elaborate spend by Unai Emery.

Little value was found in those deals and the Gunners are considered to be in need of further reinforcements.

The coronavirus pandemic is likely to impact those plans, with clubs around the world having to keep a close eye on their finances following a period of enforced lockdown.

Deals can still be done, though, and a number of proven performers will be out of contract whenever the current season comes to a close.

Bournemouth winger Fraser and Chelsea forward Willian form part of that group, with their respective deals running down.

Campbell wants Arsenal to be in the market for both, with the Scotland and Brazil internationals capable of adding important qualities to Arteta’s squad.

The former Gunners striker told Metro: “You can get Ryan Fraser on a free transfer, his assists for Bournemouth were double figures last year, I know he suffered injuries but he’s still been having a decent season.

“That’s playing for Bournemouth, when you’re playing for Arsenal he’s going to get more of the ball in the positions he wants and give more opportunities, because there’s a lot more threats for Arsenal than some of these other teams.”

Campbell added: “There’s talk of Willian, I like Willian, there’s still a lot of life left in him. He actually suits what Mikel Arteta wants to do, playing in a three, he’s got pace, he can beat people, he can score goals and we could get him on a free, and he’s experienced.

“It ticks all the boxes, but I know some Arsenal fans saying, ‘We don’t want Chelsea’s cast-offs’, but he’s not a cast-off.

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“The problem with Chelsea is they’ve got young players coming through who need to play, who know now is the time where [Frank] Lampard’s come in with Jody Morris, it’s the transition where they have to play them now.

“Whereas Willian is 31, still got life in him, he’s a similar age to [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, no one is saying Aubameyang is over the hill, so how can Willian be over the hill? It doesn’t make sense.

“If we haven’t got the money to spend in the transfer market, let’s get these guys on free, get them motivated and get them playing. That’s what Mikel Arteta’s got to do, and he realises if he hasn’t got the war chest then he’s going to have to move smart."