Arsenal went through a period six or seven years ago of having a really terrible set of defenders available at the helm, especially for a club that kept maintaining that it was ready to challenge on all fronts.
Now however all that has changed and the Gunners can proudly argue that they have a number of quality defenders, some of which are considered to be amongst some of the very best in the Premier League and Europe! This is good news for the club, but perhaps not so much for Arsenal’s young central defender Rob Holding. Arsenal signed Holding for a measly two million in today’s transfer market during the summer and he was thrown straight into the first team for the opening Premier League game. Although the side shipped four goals against Liverpool, he looked impressive for a young defender with little experience who had just come from relegated side Bolton Wanderers. With fellow summer signing Shkodran Mustafi joining the club, Holding now finds himself relatively far down the pecking order, with the likes of Koscielny, Mustafi and Gabriel all ahead of him. Per Mertesacker’s return from injury will make it even harder for the Englishman to get a game in the New Year.
According to reports today, Arsene Wenger is considering a loan move away for Holding. Wenger is reportedly keen for the ex-Bolton man to continue his development with regular playing time elsewhere and apparently there are already a number of Championship clubs ready to take him onto their books for the rest of the season.
Holding is at a prime age in his development where he needs to be playing regular games to continue improving with experience from the game. Having gone from playing for Bolton last season to having the pressures of Arsenal is no easy feat, but the Englishman will be keen to continue showing what he’s capable of on a regular basis. It isn’t enough to simply get Under 21 games and a few cup matches with the first team, because those fixtures don’t necessarily offer players the true physicality, feel and experience of playing in the Premier League. The Championship levels or a lower positioned Premier League team would work wonders for Holding if he was to get regular playing time.
Personally I think it’s a risky move for Wenger to consider loaning Holding out. With Chambers already out on loan for the season and Mertesacker aging, it leaves us really with just Gabriel to cover the main two central defenders. I’m not Gabriel’s biggest fan either due to his clumsy approach at times, so leaving just Gabriel as backup seems a scary option in my mind.
Should Wenger consider loaning Holding out in January?