Arsenal splashed cash this season to bring some players as Arsene’s team need some desperate additions in the squad. There were few big money signings with the likes of Xhaka and Mustafi, also Lucas Perez arrived from Spain in a hefty fee. But Arsenal also managed to rope in a young defender from Bolton, Rob Holding.
A defender with only one season of Championship football behind him, and that in a team is constantly in the wrong end of the table, ultimately plummeting through the trap-door to League One, Holding is not much of a gossip columnist’s wet dream. Most of us had never heard of him until the links with Arsenal first started in the latter stages of last season.
The young England youth international just cost around 2 million pounds for Arsenal and it was quite evident that Wenger had him as a part of his future plans. So far the things indicate that Arsenal fans may receive a brilliant value for money unless the things go horribly wrong.
Holding was the Bolton player of the season last year despite their turmoil. In the trouble times during managerial changes, unpaid wages he was the only consistent performer and found himself in a good position at his team. His run at The Arsenal has continued so far. He has got limited chances in the team but he has looked versatile, at least a lot better than you expect from a Championship young starlet.
His strength is his versatility, he can play as a centre back, wing back and can also play in the midfield if wanted, mainly a defensive role. Chambers also had the same attributes when he arrived but Holding looks much better than him. Holding is a very competitive and robust but technically very competent defender, with an ability to bring the ball out of defense which we have seen in recent matches. He looks composed with the ball, has a good positioning sense and a real good reader. His tackling and interceptions are stats are also impressive and he seems to be at the right place at The Arsenal.
Even Arsene Wenger was impressed by his quality and the way he mastered the pressure at a big club. His debut games included a trip to Champions Leicester, where he kept a clean sheet. Recently he has been down the pecking order but featured in the last EFL Cup tie and looked very encouraging. His overall gameplay, specially the calmness while defending and composure to get the ball out of defense was laudable.
It’s still very early days for Rob Holding at The Emirates. Only time will tell whether it will be a success story for him or not, but so far it has been encouraging. he still is inexperienced, by no means he is ready to be a regular in the league, still the progress he has acquired since joining Arsenal is brilliant. Arsenal were in search of a world class defending pair for a long time, finally in this season it seems they have got their wish. Rob Holding can surely be a man to look for in the future for both Arsenal and England. He has been a under-21 regular and will be hoping to continue his development to establish himself both for club and country.
The journey has started brightly for Holding, hopefully he holds it for the times to come.
Photo by davidhc