ABERDEEN manager Craig Brown tipped Ryan Fraser to “flourish” at Bournemouth despite his disappointment at losing the 18-year-old winger.
Fraser, who won two Clydesdale Bank Premier League young player of the month awards this season but has not yet played 90 minutes, signed for the npower League One club yesterday after the Dons accepted an undisclosed bid – reported to be in the region of £400,000 – in midweek.
Fraser rejected a new contract offer last month, and Aberdeen felt they had no option but to accept the bid rather than wait for a compensation tribunal in the summer.
Brown, whose side face Inverness in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this afternoon, said: “I’m disappointed that we’re losing him but he seemed anxious to go and he was advised his future was elsewhere. We had resigned ourselves to losing him.”
Brown had hoped there might have been a rethink after Fraser returned from a six-week injury absence in the 29 December win at Dundee. “He got a good response from the fans when I put him on at Dundee,” Brown said. “I thought that maybe because the fans were so good to him that he might have reconsidered the decision but he didn’t.
“We are used to losing players and you just have to shrug your shoulders.
“I think he will flourish. I will not be churlish and wish him anything other than the very best. I’m sure he will flourish, unfortunately it won’t be in the red jersey we have got here. [Bournemouth are] a club on the up and up. They are in the third tier of English football but it’s a good level of football and they are an ambitious club.”
Dons chief executive Duncan Fraser explained the club’s decision on their official website. He said: “Right from the start we indicated that we had no desire to see Ryan move and that if it were to happen, a bid well above the training compensation fee due in the summer and with add-ons would need to be forthcoming.”
He added: “It is worth pointing out that eight young players have signed contract extensions over the last few weeks and we remain committed to youth development as the way ahead for this club, understanding that along the way some players will choose to move on at the end of their contracts.”
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe revealed he had to work hard to win Fraser’s signature. Howe told his club’s website: “He is a talented lad. He’s only 18 but he’s very, very highly regarded in the world of football, especially up north, and Aberdeen were desperate not to lose him.
“He came to our attention a while back and he’s someone that we have tracked for a long period of time. We had a lot of competition for his signature but the fact we were able to sign him is a real positive for this football club.
“There will be a period of adjustment for a young lad to come all this way, but we will look after him and do all the work we need to do with him to try and improve his game.
“If we can, and the move goes as well as we hope it can, I think we have got a top player on our hands.”
While Fraser will be missing for the visitors today, Nick Ross is looking to sweep back into the Inverness team after recovering from a shoulder injury with the help of a broom. Ross returned from a near five-month absence with a late substitute appearance in the goalless draw at St Johnstone on 29 December and is pushing for more involvement this afternoon.
That followed a long rehabilitation process with some improvised fitness aids. The midfielder said: “I got a broom to work on my shoulder and now I have a pipe down the bottom of the corridor that I do exercises with. They are good facilities we have here!
“I had to ease myself back into it, I was passing but no-one could tackle me.
“Before that I couldn’t do anything with my shoulder, even eating food or driving. You do get down sometimes because you think ‘how am I going to get back?’ because it’s so much hard work. Then you get fit but you are not match fit. But the five minutes I got the other week made it all worthwhile.
“The longest I had been out before was a month so it was a big shock to me.
“But when I see someone like Chris Hogg, who has been out for ages and is still going each day, he is never down, that spurs you on. I’m nothing compared to him.”
Inverness yesterday released 20-year-old striker Jason Oswell, who was restricted to two substitute appearances after joining from Crewe in the summer.