CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe won the race to sign coveted Ryan Fraser and then proclaimed: It is a statement of intent and ambition.
Howe yesterday expressed his delight after fending off competition from rival clubs to seal the signing of the highly-rated Scottish wide man.
Fraser penned a three-and-a-half year contract after Cherries had agreed a transfer fee of £300,000 with the teenager’s boyhood club Aberdeen.
The 18-year-old, whose deal with the Dons was set to expire in the summer, had recently rejected the offer of fresh terms with the Pittodrie outfit.
That was understood to have sparked plenty of interest in the 5ft 4in winger, with Huddersfield and Premier League Swansea linked with swoops.
But Cherries persuaded the hot prospect that his future was at Dean Court after he had watched their FA Cup clash with Wigan on Tuesday.
Howe is backing the new recruit to prove himself as a player for the present and the future.
He told the Daily Echo: “Ryan is someone that we have watched for around a year now.
“We watched him when we were at Burnley and, from moving back, we continued to monitor his progress.
“He is someone that we have always liked. He has got obvious attributes – he is quick, he is direct and he is technically very good, so he is a player that really does fit our mould.
“He can also play both sides and, of course, he is young and very much a player that will develop and get better in the next few years. Hopefully, that fits with our philosophy of how we treat young players.
“I think it is an exciting signing for the club and, again, a statement of intent and ambition because there were a lot of clubs tracking him and wanting him.”
Howe believes Fraser is ready for an immediate role in Cherries’ League One promotion push.
He said: “He is certainly one for the future. But I think he is good enough now to come in and play a part.”
Howe added: “I think he was impressed with the facilities here and by the game on Tuesday night. I think it was all those things, added with the fact that we will take time to develop him and work with his game.
“That is one of our big things that we always do with young players – spend the time on their games to try to nurture them and make them better.
“Bournemouth is also a lovely place to live and all those things combined, together with the ambitions of the club and where we want to go, hopefully tipped the balance for us.”