Rob Holding has joined Arsenal from Bolton Wanderers for an undisclosed fee. The England U21 international defender joined Bolton as an eight-year-old and, after progressing through the youth ranks, broke into the first team last season. Holding becomes Arsenal’s third signing of the summer transfer window, subject to the completion of regulatory processes, joining Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka and Japan forward Takuma Asano. But like the 21-year-old Asano, Holding is unlikely to play a major part in Wenger’s Premier League plans for the upcoming season and is more of a long-term prospect. He made his debut against Burton Albion in August 2015 before going on to become a virtual ever-present throughout the second half of the campaign. His performances were rewarded with a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s U21s and he made two appearances in helping England win the Toulon Tournament in France over the summer.
In a brief statement, Bolton said; “Everyone at Wanderers would like to thank Rob for his efforts during his time with the club, and wish him well in his future career.”The 20-year-old scored one goal in 30 appearances before being named as the club’s player of the year at the end of a season which saw them relegated to League One. Holding is unlikely to immediately challenge Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista at the Emirates, but could potentially form an all-English pairing with Chambers at centre-back in the future. Chambers was brought in as a 19-year-old from Southampton two years ago in a deal reportedly worth up to £16m, but has mainly been a backup at Arsenal so far.