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Arsenal agree deal to sign defender as Wenger closes in on second new arrival
According to a report in the Express, Arsenal have finally agreed a deal with Bolton Wanderers to sign highly-rated centre-back Rob Holding this summer.
Holding has been strongly linked with a move to the Emirates in recent weeks with Arsene Wenger believed to have sent his scouts to watch the young defender in action on several occasions last season.
The Daily Mail reported two weeks ago that we’d tabled an improved £1.2m offer having seen our opening £750,000 bid rejected by the Trotters but it looks as though we’ve now had better luck with our third offer.
That’s because the Express are reporting that Arsenal have finally agreed a deal that will see us pay a total of £1.5m to Bolton with the fee including various performance-based add ons.
The newspaper says that the likes of Spurs, Everton and Celtic were also keen on the 20-year-old but Holding wanted to join Arsenal and it looks as though he’s about to get his wish.
Nothing official has come out from either club as yet so we’ll have to take these reports with a pinch of salt but should Holding secure his move to Arsenal then I think we’ll see Calum Chambers leave on loan.
The 21-year-old struggled for game time during the second half of last season and has been linked with a move to Watford in recent days. Like Calum, Holding is also a centre-back who can fill-in at right back so I think he’s going to be a direct replacement for the former Southampton man.
Holding is considered as one of the best young defenders outside of the top flight and won the Bolton Player of the Season despite only breaking in to the first team at the start of last season.
His impressive form saw him earn a call up to the England under-21’s and along with Chambers he was part of the side that won the Toulon Tournament last month.
I personally don’t see him coming in as a first team regular just yet so I’d actually be a little disappointed if Holding was the only centre-back we signed this summer.
I think we need a dominant top class defender to play alongside Koscielny as neither Mertesacker or Gabriel have shown they are the answer to our woes at the back. If Arsene thinks Holding is ready to start week-in week-out in the Premier League at 20 years old, it would be a brave move.
So while he’s obviously a great young talent, I hope we see the boss goes for a more established centre-back as well if we do end up signing Holding this summer.