Arsenal are building a monster. After years of minimal spending in the transfer window, the Gunners have started to spend big – signing France striker Alexandre Lacazette for a club record fee of £52 million earlier this summer. With more targets expected to follow in his footsteps, what could that mean for Arsenal’s current crop of young stars?
We’re going to look at how the club’s transfer activity could affect Rob Holding’s standing as the Gunners youngster looks to hold down a regular spot in Arsene Wenger’s line-up. The former Bolton Wanderers man ended the campaign strongly, completing the full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s final six games of the season – including that excellent FA Cup final victory over Chelsea.
Source: Arsenal via Facebook
Holding was not included in Arsenal’s squad for the pre-season tour of Asia, with Wenger opting to give the 21-year-old an extended break after the European Under-21s tournament this summer. Despite not featuring at all, Holding decided to take the break offered to him – much to the dismay of Gunners legend Martin Keown.
The former Arsenal defender had urged Holding to return earlier than expected in a bid to fight and prove his worth as a starter but he will meet up with the side at a later date. Will that affect his standing as one of Wenger’s main men? Possibly not, but some supporters will be a little disappointed at Holding’s absence given his lack of game time this summer.
Simply put, Arsenal are a much better side with Holding in the team and Wenger knows it. If truth be told, the Gunners’ success at the back end of last season wasn’t entirely down to his own individual efforts but he certainly had a positive impact. Wenger’s men kept three clean sheets in their final six games of the campaign and Holding may be set for a big year.
According to Premier League betting odds, Arsenal are 12/1 for the title and the Holding-Laurent Koscielny partnership will be vital to their aspirations. If truth be told, the Gunners may need some added support in key areas of the field to compete with both Manchester clubs and defending champions Chelsea but they aren’t a million miles away.
The Arsenal 🏆 pic.twitter.com/WMlcJk6XyQ
— Rob Holding (@RobHolding95) May 27, 2017
Holding will be keeping a close eye on Arsenal’s transfer activity this summer. Should the Gunners move for an experienced, top class central defender, his spot as a starter may be in jeopardy. Wenger could do a lot worse than place his faith in Holding; the 21-year-old has already shown us how good he can be and he will only improve further in time.
Ignore the fact that he has accepted the offer of an extended break, Holding has the talent and football brain to work his way back into the Arsenal starting line-up. Yes, going away with the squad might have been advantageous but pre-season tours are often overrated and overhyped. For Holding, the most important thing is to stay fit and maintain his form – do that and he will be a pivotal figure for the Gunners next term.