Arsenal’s defence isn’t having the greatest of times at the moment, with the Gunners failing to keep a Premier League clean sheet since our 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough. However despite this, I’m still confident that this is the strongest defence we’ve had for quite some time and I think that’s largely due to the experience and calibre of players and depth in the Arsenal squad.
One player who has fallen foul to the unfortunate amount of squad depth (in his eyes anyway) is Rob Holding. Holding came to Arsenal in a reported £2million deal from relegated side Bolton Wanderers in the summer. Holding is highly regarded to be a future England international and Arsenal star, but right now he’s isn’t exactly getting enough time and experience on the pitch to help him develop.
Besides from a few appearances at the start of this season, Holding has largely found first team appearances limited to cup competitions such as the EFL cup. Besides the EFL cup, Holding also features for the Arsenal Under 21 team. However given that he’s already made that step up to professional football in the Premier League, many aren’t sure if Under 21 football is going to be most beneficial for the defender. Instead it is considered that perhaps Holding should be looking to spend the second half of the season out on loan.
It was reported earlier in the week that Holding had a number of Championship clubs looking to loan him out for the remainder of the season. However I know there were a few that suggested that that too would be a step down and he should only be considering mid-to lower level premier league teams instead. Well today’s report suggests that it’s Aston Villa who are front runners for the centre backs signature, with the Villans keen to bolster their defence to push for a Premier League promotion.
Of course Aston Villa were relegated from the Premier League last season in rather terrible fashion. They had such a poor defensive record and they are now hoping that it isn’t letting in goals their end that will hold them back from getting promoted back after one season.
Holding would certainly help boost Villa’s defence and I reckon the loan would be a very good experience for him. However my only concern would be that Arsene Wenger may have to consider if it is too risky to loan him, without bringing in another defender. I find it very unlikely that Wenger would make another defensive addition to the team, so loaning Holding would mean that we would be down a man in defence. Mustafi and Mertesacker will soon return, but is the BFG still Arsenal quality and available to be a decent backup?
In my opinion whilst Mustafi’s out, I’d give Holding another run in the team next to Koscielny. Gabriel just isn’t doing the business in my opinion and I remain unsure on whether he has much of a future at Arsenal. Especially considering both Holding and Chambers (as well as Mustafi) are set to be in the centre of Arsenal’s defence for many years to come.
Should Arsenal loan Holding out?