Rob Holding – The best £2million that Arsenal ever spent?

Rob Holding Must be Appreciated

“I am sorry he doesn’t cost 50 million,” goes the famous line from Arsene Wenger. Rob Holding, a two million punt from Bolton under the recommendation of Steve Bould, has been mocked by many as an example of the lack of defensive quality at Arsenal football club. “How can you employ Luiz, Mustafi and Holding as your centrebacks?” they say. “Spend some money and get in someone with quality like Maguire.”

While Maguire is a good defender, so is Rob Holding, and he has been the centerpiece of the second-best defense in the Premier League this season. How about that, huh?

Defending, ultimately, requires quality, especially in modern teams that attack aggressively. However, it is still significantly a unit job, the work of an entire team. A defender need only be ‘good enough’ to function as part of the unit.

That is exactly what Rob Holding is. He is not an athletic freak, though he isn’t weak at all either. He is not best technically and neither is he some genius defender. But he can surely tackle, track, organize, communicate, head a ball, pass the ball and bully the opponent. It is these attributes, unspectacular though they are, that have come together to make a good defender out of the boy from Bolton. Decent yet effective. The basics are done well and, sometimes, that is enough.

Rob Holding has gone on up to another level this season under Arteta. His ball-playing has improved very much. His actions are cleaner. He does not make errors of judgment. He is basically the prototypical defender, something out of a textbook, something alright. Maybe Arsenal should be starting a more exceptional defender. Maybe he should only be a substitute for a more experienced option. Maybe. However, Rob Holding is playing very well and is deserving of some real appreciation for it.

Agboola Israel

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67 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    He’s a consistent performer like Sanchez and Monreal. To go back to top four, we need more consistent players like them

  2. Barry says:

    Rob Holding is not good enough. He made too many mistakes.

    1. Innit says:

      He’s a good player. At the very least he’s good back up and worth well over £2 million. He can play anywhere on the back line. Very valuable to us.

    2. Arsenal2win says:

      @Barry, thank you Barry 4 speaking the truth.

    3. John Ibrahim says:

      which player dont make mistakes?

  3. ken1945 says:

    At last, a sensible article about one of our defenders.

    Why we constantly harangue and put down our players, even when they are performing well.

    Our defence, currently having the second best GA in the PL, have a useless right back, two error ridden centre backs not fit for the purpose, a top class left back who has missed more games than he’s played and yet the myth goes on and on and on that we haven’t had a defence since the Invincibles.
    Another great Wenger quote as well by the way!!!

    1. Loose Cannon says:

      Ken, we still lost 10 games most by 1 goal margins, trust Mikel has sorted out the defense as we are no longer the whipping boys,but individual errors have cost us those 10 loses. Individual errors need to be cut down while midfield and attack needs to be improved.
      Rob ,Mari are good defenders, let down by Luiz.
      Cedric is a decent squad player, we still need back up at LB and most definitely an upgrade over Xhaka

      1. John Ibrahim says:

        lacking of team work and understanding can cause individual errors…

        our first team are constantly changing and lack of consistency…

        We are still experimenting and constructing the spine/backbone of the team….

        No team can win the league or become successful without having at least 6 or 7 players forming the spine/backbone of the team

    2. Reggie says:

      Ken you confuse me, you are saying our defence is good, is it? Style of play often dictates how many goals you let in or how many you score. To say our defence is good when our style of play doesn’t allow us to win games (losing ten in the league, knocked out of two cups early) is only half the story. If and when we start scoring and winning and our defence is still as frugal, you might have an argument. Being negative and scared to attack because we need to stop leaking goals doesn’t really make us a good defensive side. It does if you are happy with how we are doing at the moment but until we start playing football to win games our stats are misleading.

      1. Jah son says:

        Try explaining this to the realist.

        1. ken1945 says:

          Reggie, sorry but I don’t find anything confusing in my post whatsoever.
          Our defence is doing, at this moment in time, what it is intended to do and despite some of our fanbase saying the defenders are not good enough.
          I fail to see how you can argue that with attacking players like Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe and Willian, who very rarely defend anyway, you can query the defenders?
          The four players I have mentioned above, cost more than Leno, Bellerin, Soares, Holding, Luiz, Mari, Gabriel and Tierney put together… and their reported salaries are also way above these seven defenders.

          Instead of keep knocking our defence, we should be questioning why our style of play isn’t scoring the goals that would/should ensure that the defence isn’t questioned every time we lose a game.
          I’ve lost count of the number of chances our forwards have spurned – chances that most PL strikers would/should put away with ease.
          If your querying our style of play, then it’s not the defence (who are obviously doing their part) you should be questioning.
          It’s MA and the attack that need to sort out THEIR side of the game plan…. and here’s food for thought – most of our injuries are those picked up by our defenders.
          Could it be possible that it is the amount of pressure they are being put under, simply because the forwards are not working and scoring the goals that would eliminate said pressure, by making the teams we are playing more defensive themselves?

          1. Reggie says:

            The style of play ken is protecting our defence. When we played gung ho under wenger and emery our defence was exposed on a regular basis. The way we play now doesnt but because of that we dont let so many goals in. That doesnt mean our defence is great, because we dont win many games we play rigid so we dont let many goals in. That isn’t down to the defence but down to the team and the way we are playing. When we start winning your statement will have more meaning but at the moment it hasn’t because we dont get enough players forward to score, they are rigidly holding their place. When we are playing more like a team that wants to win with a lot more fuidity, then that will tell us more about the defence and not just our defending. I know we dont let many goals in but that is at the expense of not scoring and we wont and aren’t getting very far playing like that.

          2. ken1945 says:

            But Reggie, I’ve just pointed out that we have four forwards who, when they play, very rarely help out in defence.
            Meanwhile, we have fans stating that Bellerin cannot defend and his crosses are not good enough, then bemoan the fact that we haven’t a forward like Giroud to convert these crosses…. so please explain to me how we are set up defensively, when our two full backs are supposedly making all these crosses, yet are not being protected by players such as Willian, Pepe, Lacs and Aubemeyang when it comes to defensive duties?
            Unless you believe the said forwards are back in the penalty area, making last ditch tackles etc?
            If you do, then we are watching completely different games.

          3. Reggie says:

            I disagree ken Saka and lacca are often deep helping out and it is noticeable last few games how deep pepe and auba have been playing. Whe we start committing, if we start committing, then we will see if we are good at defending. Letting no goals in and scoring no goals doesn’t mean we have a good defence. Scoring goals and not letting in does.

          4. Davi says:

            Reggie – I know where you’re coming from on Wenger but we didn’t play gung ho football under Emery – we played a pretty balanced game (no less defensive than now imo) but had bad defenders like Mustafi making big mistakes almost every game.
            Arteta hasn’t been playing defensive tactics, our forwards just haven’t always been able to hold the ball and make effective attacks as much – that may have been because Arteta’s attacking gameplan wasn’t solid or they didn’t understand their instructions or weren’t good enough to implement them, but it wasn’t because of a defensive playing style.
            One thing Arteta has definitely addressed is our weakness to counter attacks – we’re much better at dealing with those than we have been for a long time.

          5. Reggie says:

            Davi good coments but our style is negative not positive, its carefull and deliberate, thats why we aren’t letting goals in and why we arent scoring. I will say though when emery was in charge we were wide open, he did say, he didnt mind winning 5-4 as long as we won.

  4. Reggie says:

    Rob Holding has developed into a very good player. He isnt top class by any means but he is a capable player and to an extent pretty reliable. I think he is at least worth ten times what we paid for him and for a current Arsenal purchace, thats a rarity.

      1. ozziegunner says:

        👍 👍

  5. Ssentongo Ibrahim says:

    He can play any where at the back. RB/CB/ LB in many formations. 4-4-2/3-4-3/. I like his consistency

  6. Robert Artane says:

    I am so sorry to have to disagree I often revisit games many times and many many different games to get my own views and all i see is Holding backing of players, but yes in his defence I see other Defenders not pulling their weight but I have to say Holding is NOT a top Defender he panics constantly when in possession of having the ball he and Luiz are the worst combination ever they seem to say no you have no you no you no you as passing responsibility then wallop caught out. As soon as Holding gets the ball i dread it and I say to friends watch the back pass whoops here we are it is a constant happening, that we actually laugh we have to it is so so so upsetting are you all friends of his? well if you think he is a Good defender you must be or you have settled for very average championship quality compared to the HIGH PROFILE players we always had we were reluctant to let defenders leave even retire because we always had a strong defence. I would GIVE HOLDING AWAY or pay to have him taken away from our Club a shocking player. He seems to NICE sorry but we always had a hard defence we have amature class defenders

  7. jon fox says:

    A SENSIBLE AND REALISTIC ARTICLE. GREAT PERSPECTIVE TOO, WHICH IS NOT SOMETHING WE ALWAYS GET ON HERE.

  8. Grandad says:

    Spot on Reggie.His lack of pace is his only major weakness but of course the likes of Adams and Bobby Moore were not quick but had great positional sense.

  9. Dan kit says:

    Anelka would be the best signing personally, for the price and the return we got for him .
    Another gem for Arsene.

    1. Defund The Media says:

      Or Cesc 👌

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        Or Adebayor.

        1. jon fox says:

          HH, you are surely having a laugh! The absurd idea that this lazy and treacherous player was value for money is nonsense. Biased nonsense, given your own nationality too.

          1. Highbury Hero says:

            He was bought for 3 and sold for 25. During his time he performed well and left for a very big profit. Togo is very far from my country.

          2. Dan kit says:

            Adebayor lazy ?
            Don’t make me laugh ,he was unbelievable when he played for us ,not sure where you get this lazy tag for every player that you don’t like ,another stupid comment from you Jon I honestly can not believe that you think you know anything about football let alone football in general.
            Absolutely another idiotic comment once again form you SMFH .

          3. Highbury Hero says:

            Correct Dan!

            In a thread like this Jon you are supposed to also name a player you think was a good value for money. And what is this about nationalities? Does it matter? There are 195 countries in the world. If I give you 194 chances to guess my nationality you probably won’t get it right.

          4. Dan kit says:

            Yes HH , a weird comment also about your nationality ,you joined in the Article and once again Jon as to spoil it with a silly comment instead of actually partaking in the Thread

        2. ozziegunner says:

          HH, good return on investment; too bad it has been rare recently to replicate, although Iwobi and Chamberlain sales weren’t too bad.

          1. Reggie says:

            Ozzie, iwobi and chamberlain sales were completely against the grain and we fleeced the scousers.

          2. Sue says:

            Hurrah, Reggie 🤩

          3. Reggie says:

            I thought you’d like that Sue. 😄

    2. ozziegunner says:

      As Ian Wright has stated Dennis Bergkamp “was a massive signing for Arsenal and he’s the one that all that success was built on.
      He wa magnificent and is the best signing the club has ever made. He changed the DNA of the Club. It was a real honour to play with someone of that calibre.”
      Cost £7.5 million
      11 seasons
      423 appearances 120 goals
      3 Premier League Titles
      3 FA Cups
      3 Community Shields

      1. Aggrey says:

        There is no deal better than Kolo Toure’s

  10. Andrew Elder says:

    Nicolas Anelka for £500k? Nevertheless Rob Holding is a good, honest defender never giving anything less than 100%, a steal at £2m.

  11. Mickmematethemasterfarter says:

    Cup loss 2 forest few years back he was shite I’m afraid he’s got worse simple mistakes game in game out can’t see why MA plays him.. V Daley Campbell star in makn 4 the fox’s another ex arsenal youth

  12. Jah son says:

    For me our squad was better than Leicester starting the season and look at the table now. It tells you something.

    1. McLovin says:

      Rodgers has a good record against top 6 teams..

    2. jon fox says:

      To YOU it would be! To no one else though! Look up the word “reality” and see how little it applies to you.

  13. Defund The Media says:

    Jesus liverpool just imploded! sue will be loving it 😂😂

    1. Sue says:

      What a fantastic start to the weekend, Rory!! Good old Brenda 😝

      1. Defund The Media says:

        Haha thought you’d like that sue!! Great start indeed let’s hope our boys can do the business 🤞

        1. Sue says:

          Let’s hope, Rory!! That’ll put the icing on the cake 😉 Although City are doing that right now – Ederson assist 😉 Gundogan 🔥

  14. S says:

    He isn’t the best money we’ve spent if we don’t sell him on.
    We lost a year of service from him because we put spikes in our training ground.

  15. adajim says:

    we wanted Vardy, he refused us, we went for lacca then Auba, comparing the influence of the 3 stikers, Vardy is a top player made for EPL

    1. RSH says:

      ignoring that Vardy is purely a counter attacking striker tho. He wouldve flopped here if he played posession style back and forth nowhere football with us.

  16. Indian Gunner London says:

    I like Rob Holding as a simple ‘No Nonsense defender’.

    For me the best money spent was by AW on Patrick Vieira.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      IGL, please check my comment on Bruce Rioch/David Dein buying Dennis Bergkamp above.
      By the way Patrick Viera was bought by David Dein before Arsene Wenger was appointed to manage Arsenal.

  17. Marty says:

    Very good and well written article. Holding reminds me of Steve Bould when we first signed him. A lot of people thought Bould an underwhelming signing but he turned out to be a very capable defender and I think Holding can do the same.

  18. David says:

    He is awesome, has the quality making the players around him play better. Hope he will work better with Gabriel soon but pairing with Mari seems to go really well.

  19. The Real Vieira Lynn says:

    Holding has clearly performed above expected, but he certainly isn’t a staple CB for any team hoping to challenge for things…great cover, cup player, injury replacer and if you intend to really bring Saliba and MAvro back, it might be wise to cash in on him now that his value is likely at it’s highest…not that I want to sell him, but if we envision a primary defensive pairing of Saliba and Gabriel, which should be in our future plans, then it would be a savvy move to make some bank while he’s still seeing regular minutes…think of how much money we’ve lost when we’ve tried to sell our defenders who were not seeing regular minutes…Holding just isn’t special enough, on either end of the pitch, to warrant keeping, if we can make a substantial profit, or to hold up the development of higher ceiling defenders, which I believe we have

  20. RSH says:

    No, because we have had academy players for free. Holding is fine and has been good this season but thats about it. Last season he wasn’t as good and almost got shipped to Newcastle just last summer. I dont see the point in overrating most of our starters when we are bottom half of the table. Lets be realistic about where we are.

  21. Dan kit says:

    The Article is about value for money
    And at 2 million he is just that
    Would probably fetch 30 mill plus in today’s market

    1. Quantic Dream says:

      If anyone actually paid such a fee for him then they’d immediately take away the title of “kings of bad business” from Arsenal.

      1. Dan kit says:

        Well someone payed 35 mill for Iwobi so I don’t thinking’s to far fetched .
        He English
        Great age
        And is starting to put in solid performances.

        1. Dan kit says:

          Think its*

    2. Anders Sørensen says:

      30 in today’s market??
      I think you have missed the drop in players’ value the latest year or so.

      1. Dan kit says:

        We signed Gabriel for 27 million 6 months ago now fans are saying holding is better ,like I said players that are English have great value and hold that value ,Ben Chillwell 50 million example ,so no I don’t belive 30 million is to far fetch at all .
        And players values have not dropped its the clubs spending power that as .
        Kai Havertz -71 mill
        Werner -50 mill
        Van beek -45 mill
        No drop in value with them 3

  22. Barry says:

    I wonder how many teams in the upper half of the table had given RH the opportunity in their central defense.

  23. Joe. S says:

    This one is a no brainer, isn’t it? Take the Villa game. One slip up and we’re down 0-1. Eighty Five minutes later and the attack is still huffing and puffing to break the opponent’s line. What did those over priced forwards contribute to overall team performance?

  24. Joe. S says:

    Again in defence of Holding. I like him. He was great the last game we best the Spuds, only to do a knee at the end of the game. Took him over a year to get back, only to be paired up with the mish mash of headless Mustufi and El Loco Luiz. Holding is only starting to come back into form. He will make up for his lack of pace by improving his positioning and ability to read a game Along with Gabriel ,Mari and Saliba he will be part ofa solid backbone that will provide the manager with reliable options when selecting horses for courses.

  25. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    I think like the Liverpool’s van Dyke who is a beast centreback defender for the Reds and subsequently because an accomplished Liverpool defender for his not only for his beast defending in the heart of his team defense. But also for his regular goals scoring getting for his team that enabled them win matches regularly. Which culminated to Liverpool winning the Premier League title last season.

    He van Dyke should be emulated by Rob Holding, who if he wants to become an accomplished centreback defender like Vigil van Dyke was for Liverpool before he was injured for the season this season should from the Arsenal’s PL home match today against Leeds Utd starts adding goals scoring to his game for Arsenal whenever he comes out of the defence to attack the ball to score. But often, he has failed to do this very important Job for Arsenal so far this season.

    But I hope he will overcome this weak side in his game for Arsenal before the season runs out and start hitting the back of the net regularly for Arsenal.

  26. AndersS says:

    A good player. Maybe just top 10-15 cb’s in the league at the moment, and as such a good buy for 2m.
    But we need more from him to be top class, and if we want to be title challengers.

  27. Tone Lane says:

    Holding is a mid-table player. He’s OK, but always struggles against the best in the league.

    He’s no Tony Adams or Martin Keown. Like I said, he’s OK.

    Saying that, Gabriel and Saliba should be the 1st choice centre halves next year with Mari as back-up.

    Anyone that has actually seen Saliba play, and doesn’t have an agenda, can see he is leagues above Holding.

    I would sell Holding to a mid-table club at the end of the season. If we can get £12-15 million, then yes he represents good business.

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