On the 22nd July 2016, Rob Holding signed for Arsenal from Bolton Wanderers.
The 20-year-old defender was named Player of the Season in his first full season with the Trotters as the Gunners picked up the English centre-back for a reported fee of £2 million.
Arsenal fans were excited to see a promising English player be signed for the club, here’s how some reacted on the day of the transfer.
Next Tony Adams
— AM (@AM_ArsenaI) 22 July 2016
been waiting ages for this. Welcome to Arsenal, and good luck! Arsène believes in you, and so do I
— Mr A (@FCArseneWenger) 22 July 2016
You’re better than Maldini mate, remember that.
— ak (@WolfpackGunner) 22 July 2016
Welcome to Arsenal lad! Excited to see what you can do for us #WelcomeRob
— H (@HarryRiley96) 24 July 2016
So many havnt seen you play, ive seen enough to say that you’ve got loads of potential… Welcome and GROW!
— Davve (@MartinDavve) 23 July 2016
im sure this one is a beast!!!gud luck for the bright future in arsenal rob!!
— heriady (@zifers) 23 July 2016
— Tanya Coulter (@teathemirates) 22 July 2016
Welcome to the club! All the best and we hope you can be the centre back we’ve been looking for! #AFC
— Jason McKinney (@jasmckinney) 22 July 2016
Since signing for the club nearly three years ago Holding has become one of the most promising centre-backs in the Premier League and a fan favourite in north London. The 20-year-old was thrown into the Arsenal first-team at the start of the 2015/16 season due to injuries to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, playing in the opening three games and keeping one clean sheet alongside Calum Chambers.
Holding would only feature in cup games following the signing of Mustafi and return of Koscielny to the first-team, but the Manchester-born defender returned to the starting XI when Arsene Wenger jumped on the 3-4-3 bandwagon in the final few games of the season, and this is when the £2 million signing stepped into the limelight.
The youngster thrived in the new system, being Arsenal’s most stable defender and putting in an incredible performance in the FA Cup final where the Gunners beat the Premier League winners Chelsea 2-1, with Holding playing a big part in keeping Diego Costa quiet all game.
His second season in north London saw the defender feature more regularly in the Premier League as Wenger chopped and changed his defence every few weeks, in the end, Holding played 28 games for the Gunners in the Frenchman’s final season at Arsenal.
Under new manager Unai Emery, Holding has established himself as the future of the Gunners defence. His development under the Spaniard surprised even the most cynical of Arsenal critics who thought the Englishman would never make it at the club.
But sadly, hopes of a full season came crashing down against Manchester United when Holding tore his ACL, ruling him out until next season. The future is still bright for the 23-year-old, but it will be hard to determine whether he will be the same as he was prior to the injury or another Arsenal man damaged by setbacks.
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