Arsenal caught flat-footed as Crystal Palace take lead in free agent hunt


Crystal Palace have stolen a march on Arsenal for a free agent winger after offering him a contract worth nearly double his previous salary.

Both Arsenal and Palace are expected to be operating on a restricted transfer budget this summer.

Free agent signings could therefore play a major role in their dealings, and both clubs have been busy thus far.

Palace snapped up West Brom youngster Nathan Ferguson recently, while Arsenal maintain strong interest in ex-Chelsea veteran Willian.

The latter of those deals has hit a financial snag lately, and now another winger The Gunners were linked with appears unlikely to sign.

Bournemouth wide man Ryan Fraser is in search of a new club after leaving The Cherries last month.

Fraser rejected the chance to sign a short-term extension as he looked towards his next move, and contact was reportedly made with Arsenal.

However, according to The Daily Mail, Crystal Palace have jumped ahead in the queue.

They report that Palace have offered the 26-year-old a contract amid the aim of lowering their squad’s average age.

Ryan Fraser Bournemouth TEAMtalk

Furthermore, Sky Sports state the deal is worth roughly £50,000 per week – almost double his prior £27,000 per week salary.

That sum is before bonuses, and Fraser will now have a tough decision to make regarding The Eagles’ offer.


Palace buoyed by activation of clause for strike target

Watkins Brentford TEAMtalk

Crystal Palace and Leeds are just two of a number of Premier League sides who have been buoyed by the activation of a buyout clause for a Championship hotshot.

Brentford fell at the final hurdle in their quest for promotion after suffering play-off final heartache against Fulham.

The defeat was a bitter pill to swallow for The Bees, who had the most potent attack in the league.

A huge part of that strength stemmed from the exciting front three of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins.

But with promotion hopes now dashed, the Premier League clubs are circling.

One player who has attracted particularly strong interest is Watkins, and the player has now had a clause in his contract activated.

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