Arsenal to land new John Stones, fans Holding out for big named striker.
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on July 21, 2016
Arsenal are close to securing the signature of highly rated youngster Rob Holding from Bolton, the talented defender has undergone a medical with the Gunners as they continue to discuss personal terms.
According to Sky Sports, a deal will be concluded in the next few days with Arsenal expected to sign the exciting youngster for a fee in the region of £2 million beating off interest from another Premier League club.
The 20-year-old was left out of the Bolton line-up for their friendly match against Tranmere Rovers on Tuesday night which indicates a move to the Emirates Stadium is ever closer.
Bolton were reluctant to lose their prized asset and had rejected an opening offer from Arsenal, believed to be £1.2million. Bournemouth joined the race to also see their bid declined. But, the Gunners are finally set to land their man with the arrival of Holding said to be imminent.
The Gunners have been admirers of the young England u21 international for several months, and serious interest emerged in the latter part of last season, which led to Bolton’s interim manager, Jimmy Phillips, leaving the defender out of the team to face Fulham on the last day of the season.
The current Bolton star has been with the club since the tender age of just seven years old, progressing through the youth ranks and went on to make his senior debut for the club against Burton Albion, last August.
The centre-back’s exceptional performances have caught the eye of many clubs and there is clear indication why. The ball playing defender is very composed on and off the ball, which will suit the Arsenal way who have a known identity of neat and tidy football. His coolness on the ball reminds me off Bolton’s former youth player Gary Cahill, who was also an Arsenal target before he moved to Chelsea. Versatility is another trait of his game that sticks out, predominantly a central defender but just as capable covering at full-back.
The Englishman managed to impress in a struggling team, which showcases why he is so highly sought off. Holding will bring something to the Gunners which they have lacked in recent seasons, a hard tackling mean defender who is happy to get involved in a physical battle.
With any young prospects there is always a worry of overhyping them; many young players have dithered with their early career due to media pressure but it is hard not to get excited with some players. Holding is a very good young player, he reminds me of Everton’s John Stones in ways, both defenders like to carry the ball from defence and burst through the middle of the park, the only difference is Holding has shown more maturity in his style of play in ways, Stones often gets caught up on the ball as he wants to always keep the ball down and pay from the back, although Holding possesses this great asset, he will also put the ball into row Z in order to benefit the team.
The Gunners have been criticised for many years with regards to set pieces, offensively and defensively. Standing at 5 ft. 11 inches he demonstrates aerial presence in both cases and can be a real nuisance in the box when attacking set pieces.
At just 20-years-old he is very confident in his abilities; he has elegant footwork which is a bonus for any defender and isn’t afraid to use his trickery footwork in tight situations, including in his own area, being fairly quick he is able to burst out with ball and can set his team away on the counter.
Last season Holding made a name for himself, although Bolton were relegated from the Championship he was a bright spark in the glim squad. The Arsenal bound youngster went on to make 30 appearances last season getting on the score sheet once, his explicit form was recognised by the club too as he was named the club’s player of the year.
After his breakthrough with Bolton, his impressive performances caught the eye of Gareth Southgate, as he was called up to the England Under-21 side that won the Toulon Tournament in France.
Although he will not be thrown into the first team, he will certainly train with the squad until Arsène Wenger decides what is best for him in the coming season, a loan move may be required to develop his game, with minutes at Arsenal set to be limited next season with the likelihood of him replacing the ageing Per Mertesacker in the next few seasons.
Arsenal u21’s gained promotion to the top tier of development football after a very successful season last term, Holding could find himself training with the first team and playing for the u21’s as he continues his development with the Gunners.
This could well change if the Gunners sell both Mathieu Debuchy and Carl Jenkinson, and as the Gunners have endured in recent seasons many injuries to key players could see Holding thrown into the first team, similar to how Héctor Bellerín made his breakthrough.
Holding is not the signing most Gunners fans were hoping for, I’ve seen quite a few negative comments surrounding the possible signing. But, non-league football produces brilliant young talents, including the recent Dele Alli who Tottenham Hotspur signed. Alli went on to be one of the best players in the Premier League last season and also secured himself a seat on the plane for the Euros.
Holding will certainly be given chances at Arsenal, and could well turn out to be a great coup by the North London side. The thought of Calum Chambers and Rob Holding fulfilling their potential with the Gunners and cementing themselves starting places in the coming years is something Arsenal fans should be very excited about, two young England u21 talents in the Arsenal ranks is something to be very optimistic about, and the signing of Rob Holding certainly excites me.