Bolton’s 21-year-old defender Rob Holding is set to become Arsene Wenger’s first defensive signing of the transfer window. Meanwhile, Jamie Vardy is set to stay put at Leicester despite the Gunners triggering his release clause.
Arsenal ended the 2015/16 season without winning any silverware. A disappointing Champions League run was coupled by early eliminations from the Capital One and FA Cup. With the exits of two of their veteran central midfielders Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini, manager Arsene Wenger decided to rope in Granit Xhaka as a potential replacement. Now, with the transfer window in full steam, the Frenchman will be looking to add some more firepower in what could potentially be his last season at the club.
A deal has been agreed for Bolton youngster Rob Holding
Arsene Wenger, known to be a fan of young talent, has reportedly struck a deal with Bolton for the services of their highly-rated 20-year-old centre-back Rob Holding, according to Express. A reported fee of £1.5 million has been agreed upon by the two parties, which includes certain incentives based on the player’s performances.
Holding was one of the few shining stars in a Bolton side that got relegated to League One. The absence of Championship football would make it even more difficult for the club to hold on to their number one centre-back. An offer to play for one of the biggest sides in the Premier League would be a tempting bid for any youngster and Holding would be relishing his opportunity to play for the Gunners.
Rob Holding: Made at least 18 more interceptions (84) than any other U21 player in the Championship last season pic.twitter.com/Y3jl6iNf8S
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 9, 2016
The Bolton star was also part of the England under-21 squad that recently won the Toulon Cup, and would be keen to make his mark for the senior side when the opportunity arrives. At the Emirates, the promising 20-year-old would join the youth setup and be probably played in the Captial One cup to gain valuable first team appearances. For a side that finished rock-bottom, Holding averaged 3.7 interceptions and 3.3 clearances a game, according to WhoScored, showcasing his ability to maintain composed when the going gets tougher.
Only 20% chance of Jamie Vardy joining forces with Wenger at Arsenal
A week ago, news had broken out that Arsenal had triggered the release clause of Leicester striker Jamie Vardy. The bid made was in the region of £20 million, and would make the English maverick a welcome signing at the Emirates, given the torrid season Frenchman Olivier Giroud has endured. The deal did not move any further as Vardy had already left for the Euros, which proved to be damning for the Gunners, as the striker had the time to ponder over his decision and is reportedly staying put at the King Power.
Jamie Vardy’s Premier League season by numbers:
46 chances created
1 winners’ medal pic.twitter.com/wgTISymDso
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 7, 2016
The Independent further went on to state that he would be offered a new contract at the King Power with revised wages in the region of £100,000 a week. Also, it is further revealed that Vardy has doubts as to whether he would be a regular at Arsenal, given that Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck would all be vying for that number-9 berth.
It has been reported that sources in the England camp have understood that there is an 80% chance that Vardy will sign a new contract at Leicester. With both clubs managing to offer Champions League football next term, the English striker would prefer more playing time over a slightly higher compensation.
Wenger has spoken fondly of Vardy’s team-mate N’Golo Kante
If reports are to be believed, Arsene Wenger is planning on a double raid to bring in N’Golo Kante along with his Leicester team-mate Jamie Vardy. Kante had an exceptional season with Leicester City and would certainly add a lot of defensive stability to an attack-minder Gunners outfit.
Speaking to beIN Sports, Wenger stated that he admired N’Golo Kante’s work-rate and positional adaptability. “We are talking about numbers. He has the most interceptions in Europe and by far. He’s always where he needs to be. Not always orthodox, but always in the right place,” explained Wenger.
121 – N’Golo Kanté has made more tackles than any other player in the Premier League this season. Tenacity.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 14, 2016
Kante would give Xhaka a proven partner at the heart of Arsenal’s midfield. While the Swiss maestro drifts forward to create chances for the front-men, Kante can sit back and pick up the scraps in midfield. His ability to bully the opposition makes him the ideal imposing presence Wenger has needed in his squad since the departure of Patrick Vieira.