Is Rob Holding the future of Arsenal’s defence or a squad player?

There has been a never-ending debate about how bad our defenders have been this season and we are all aware of the deficiencies. The fact is that Laurent Koscielny (32 years old with ongoing achilles problems); Per Mertesacker (33 and in his last year of competitive football); Nacho Monreal (the youngster at 31, but although he seems to be our most consistent and effective defender he is also getting on in years) and the youngster (comparatively) Shkrodan Mustafi, who has looked well out of his depth for most of this season.

So we are are in urgent need of rebuilding at the back, but suddenly after the game against Man united, we have seen that Calum Chambers and Dino Mavropanos could actually be good enough to make the grade, and today we have been told that Rob Holding, who if you remember is only 22, has signed a new long term contract with the Gunners. reported it thus…

The 22-year-old defender joined us from Bolton Wanderers in July 2016 and made his debut against Liverpool in the opening match of the 2016/17 season.

He has since gone on to make 42 first-team appearances and helped the team win the Emirates FA Cup against Chelsea at Wembley Stadium last year.

Rob has five England Under-21 caps and was part of the squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2017 Uefa European Under-21 Championship in Poland.

We would like to congratulate Rob on his new contract and look forward to his continued contribution in the coming years.

So we now have three younger defenders ready to join Mustafi as our four needed centre-backs for the future. Admittedly Shkrodan and Dino are both very young for defenders, but they have both proven they can perform at the top level.

So we suddenly find we have no need to bring in another defender for the forseeable future? Or should we just expect the youngsters to be squad players and bring in one more experienced centre-back?



  1. christian12 says:

    Not at this stage. We’ll have to wait and see how he goes, but Holding doesn’t at the moment have the qulaity to be a 1st team player

  2. McLovin says:

    New manager will decide.

    1. gotanidea says:

      Touche, but it seems Chambers and Mavropanos would get more playing times ahead of Holding in this season

  3. AndersS says:

    Neither Rob Holding nor Chambers have the class, we should be aiming for. Both of them actually showed some promise in the start of their Arsenal careers. Whether they have actually gotten worse, or time has just shown, they aren’t good enough, is difficult to say. But IMO they can not improve our defense in the years to come.

    1. Nay Sayer says:

      I agree.

      While I feel Chambers may be good enough for league and fa cups etc, Holding would be too low in the pecking order once we sign the replacement for Mertesacker since Mavropanos has better potential – as tall as Holding, but faster, stronger, better jumper, seems more motivated.

      I think Rob will go on a loan and will then either be sold for profit or will rejoin the gunners if he proves himself (I doubt he’ll suceed, but I wish him all the best, naturally).

  4. Kris says:

    I personally think it down to Wenger to coach these players into better stars. I mean let’s be fair Chamberlain for me was average under Wenger, he hadn’t really progressed in the time he was there and was shifted around the team more and more. Yet under klopp he’s began to flourish as a cm and is consistent enough to get into what is a very good Liverpool side this season. Chambers went out on loan to Middlesbrough 2 seasons ago he was their best defender despite going down. That same year he went to the euros under 23’s and won the cup again being one of the top performers in the side. As soon as he’s back in an arsenal shirt his form dips says it all really. The fact I since pat rice left Wenger has been left even more clueless on how to coach the defence and doesn’t trust Steve bold fully in that department.

  5. ThirdManJW says:

    He’s barely a squad player. He needs a season long loan, and regular football, at a Premiership club, so we can really see his ability.

    1. citrenoogeht says:

      Spot on.

  6. Thomo says:

    I think we should keep holiday because with the right coaching there is a good defender in him

  7. tony says:

    u read the 1st part of the headline and u say,’fuuuuuccccckkkkkk’

  8. DANDY GUNNER says:

    Rob Holding and Chambers Squad Player’s only.

  9. John Ibrahim says:

    liverpool vs Real in the final

    Roma stand no chance….its so obvious

  10. Simon says:

    Mavropanos really seemed to bring the best out of Chambers in the defeat at United. I don’t see Holding as a leader, however, in the long term, I see the possibility of a great defense consisting of Mavropanos and Holding, the Greek’s physicality allied with the Englishman’s talent.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      They actually put it the other way around, they said Calum had seniority and he was marshaling defenders. I’ve noticed Chambers doing that a few times this season, he’s beginning to tell his mates where he wants them to go, maybe he picked it up from Per.

  11. John Ibrahim says:

    We need a tall and strong Centreback and obviously Mavropanos fits the bill apart from the experience

  12. Ozziegunner says:

    As stated above the new coach will decide. All three of Holding, Chambers and Mavropanos have international experience and are still quite young for defenders. All three deserve some patience to allow them to mature at Arsenal
    However, what Arsenal needs for next season is at least one experienced, highly competent centre back to mentor these young defenders, together with a competent defensive coach. I can’t see Steve Bould surviving Arsene Wenger’s exit.

  13. Me says:

    Would be interesting to see how Holding would develop in the hands of a coach who could actually coach him in defending and tactics – something very clearly lacking with the current regime.

  14. Break-on-through says:

    I was thinking the other day as I read someone saying how we have to tear the entire defence down and build up a whole new one, I was thinking this lad might be surprised by Mavrapanos Chamber’s Holding and Bielik, with the right instruction and a team working as one unit I believe these guys could possibly surprise a few people. I would love to still bring in one experienced pro, someone like that Godin fellow would be terrific, he makes that Atletico defence much stronger with him being the Daddy of the team. Four strong young men there so at the least we should get a couple of CB’s from the bunch.

    1. Trudeau says:

      I’m glad you added Bielik in the mix – he’s got real potential if he can stay healthy. Squeeze another year out of Koscielny (with reduced monutes) and pray a new manager can sort Mustafi’s mental game out and maybe two of the four will step up next season without the pressure of being the main man. More likely though is an established CB being brought in. How many of the top clubs have CBs from their academies? In general they take too long to develop.

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        Break-on-through and Trudeau, I thoroughly support your assessments. Arsenal cannot afford to buy a full defence and I agree that the four players mentioned have considerable potential as well as youth on their side, to prosper under good coaching.

  15. Simon Williams says:

    Think both are good, and Holding in particular could become great (although doesn’t strike me as a leader).

    Think 1 experienced 25+ year old to be the captain of the defence. Particularly when I assume Czech days are numbered – and he has been the captain of the defence in recent years.

    I assume Wenger thought Mustafi was that guy, it’s possible, I rate him higher than many gooners- but the main leader I’m not so sure?!

  16. I agree with the comment where someone says that new manager will decide.

    I hope the new manager doesn’t boot everyone out.

  17. Bolivian gunner says:

    Real problem doesnt seem to be the players, but the defending style, training, set plays and everything related to defending coaching. When all of your defenders are underperforming then it clearly means the problem is you. When they are all making the childish mistakes like against atletico it means they just dont follow your tactics, they are not focusing. No mystery.

  18. Shortboygooner says:

    The 3 youngsters should battle it out the rest if the season and in pre season. Kos is done merts is done. Mustafi was crap and should be shows he is replacable. We now need a rb for next season. Ainsley should be the new cdm.

  19. Grandad says:

    Mustafi will be one of the first players to be unloaded by the new Management team.Holding and our young Greek will make the grade but Chambers will not.At least one experienced current international centre back will be recruited this summer.

  20. oliseh says:

    bid for maguire, lenglet or tarkowski

    mustafi out

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