Arsene Wenger signed Rob Holding because of his youth and potential

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Last week, Arsenal officially announced the signing of Rob Holding from Bolton Wanderers for a fee believed to be in the region of £2.5 million.

Having been craving a big name signing for the majority of the summer, the young defender might not exactly be the high-profile arrival Gunners fans were hoping for. 

Nevertheless, with the 21-year-old now on board, Arsene Wenger has revealed to Arsenal's official website exactly why he couldn't pass up on the opportunity to bring in Holding this summer.


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"[We chose to take him from Bolton] because of his quality,” Wenger explained before Arsenal flew out for their pre-season tour of the United States.

"He’s a young, promising centre back. You don’t find centre backs that often and we can educate them when they’re at that age. We can give them all the ingredients we think are important."

Throughout his time in north London, Wenger has made a habit of turning talented youngsters into world class players. From Thierry Henry and Ashley Cole to Jack Wilshire and Cesc Fabregas, the Frenchman has a long track record of nurturing young players.

Clearly, he feels like he has another good opportunity to do the same with Holding and Arsenal fans will be hoping his confidence in the centre-back/right-back is a sign of exciting things to come in the future.

As Bolton's Player of the Year for the 2015/16 season, Holding has certainly shown that he is capable of impressing on the senior stage. Just how quickly he is able to get up to speed with Premier League football, however, remains to be seen.

Indeed, Wenger's comments seem to suggest that he sees the Holding signing as a deal that he had to make this summer in order to reap the rewards in few years time.

“Krystian Bielik is developing well now and he can also be used as a central midfielder," Wenger continued.

"So overall it’s an opportunity I wanted to take because that’s a difficult position to find nowadays.”

Defensive woes

Nevertheless, with reports today suggesting veteran centre-back Per Mertesacker could be out for as long as five months with a knee injury, Holding could find himself bumped up the pecking order sooner than anticipated.

If the German is out of action for a few months, that would leave Gabriel, Laurent Koscielny and Calum Chambers as the only members of the first team squad with considerable experience at centre-back.

Although Arsenal are widely expected to dip into the transfer market to find a replacement, the Rob Holding signing has at least boosted depth at the position.

Judging by the Gunners boss' comments, however, he sees a far brighter future ahead for Holding than simply making up the numbers.

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Thierry Henry
Jack Wilshere
Alexis Sanchez
UEFA Champions League
Per Mertesacker
Premier League
Arsene Wenger

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