From what we have witnessed from Arsène Wenger’s reign at Arsenal, his dexterity to pluck blossoming youngsters has been the highlight which has reflected the philosophy of the grand old club from north London. His tutelage has substantially aided in transforming the careers of many youngsters. He showers unending faith on the rising stars, ensuring they get the right scenario to improvise themselves.
His recent acquisition to cater to his side’s central defensive need in the shape of Rob Holding has paved the way for the rise in quite a few eyebrows. A move involving a paltry sum of around £2 million certainly doesn’t make the signing worthy of grabbing eye-catchy headlines of leading dailies but contrary to the beliefs of the football fraternity, will it leave a galvanising impact for the Gunners? To ease the occasion, we have assembled an epitome of the youngster in the form of a SWOT Analysis for our readers.
Despite the inflation in the transfer market, Rob Holding seems to be a steal at the outset. The 20-year-old had a tremendous rise at Bolton Wanderers and was their silver lining in the disastrous campaign as the Trotters were relegated from the Championship. The innocuous defender made 33 appearances in all competitions and proved himself as the Player of the Season as he clocked 23 tackles, 86 interceptions, 21 take-ons and won 116 duels last season.
He is physically strong, technically agile, has a decent pace, dominates in the air and was thus in the goods books in Championship last season which saw Arsenal come running to him to put his pen to paper. To further illuminate his traits, it would be unfair to refrain from mentioning that he has been a consistent youngster, a leader on the pitch, studies the game well and is a very cool-headed customer (No, Arsenal fans aren’t getting someone like Patrick Vieira anytime soon).
A weakness that comes every time a youngster is thrown under the microscope is the lack of experience. The Tameside born starlet suffers from the lack of quality in passing the ball and could muster merely 68% accuracy in passing.
Moreover, he faces a severe struggle when anyone from the opposition manages to get behind him and subsequently, he fails to recover the ball more often than not. He has to improve some of the facets of his game to embark himself as a regular under Wenger.
Ageing Per Mertesacker and inconsistent Gabriel haven’t offered a great deal of help to the consistent centre-back Laurent Koscielny. Rob holding will bring a fresh breeze at the back and will offer the manager a valuable option to make tactical nous and implement a proper rotational policy. Further, the new Gunner is versatile and has featured as a right-back as well which boosts his CV. He is a deal for the future and can be an asset with all that he has on his tray.
Bolton conceded 81 goals from 46 games which provide evidence that he has been in a side that had flirted with the relegation zone in a lower league and had eventually succumbed. At the red half of north London, the pressure to perform is a billion times more.
The England U21 is undoubtedly a raw talent and when someone as promising as Calum Chambers has been stagnating amidst the hostility of the Premier League, question marks would linger around how Holding is going to face the unfamiliar circumstances at the top tier of English football.
(Statistics Credits: Squawka)