Arsenal are close to their third signing of the summer, and this time it is a young English centre-back they are adding to their ranks.
The Daily Mail are reporting that Bolton Wanderers have accepted a £2 million bid from the Gunners for 20-year-old defender Rob Holding.
The England Under-21 international made 30 first team appearances for Bolton last season, and has drawn interest from Bournemouth as well as Arsenal. Personal terms should be agreed swiftly and the transfer concluded in the coming days.
It is an intriguing move by Arsene Wenger, who already has four centre-backs in his first-team squad in the shape of Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Gabriel and Calum Chambers.
Koscielny is assured of a starting role, but who partners him at the heart of the Arsenal defence is very much up for debate.
Gabriel is a defender of some promise, but his lack of English is a concern, as well as the fact he is a bit too similar in style to Koscielny to form a complementary partnership.
Mertesacker is still Koscielny’s most reliable partner, but is out of contract at the end of the season and there is a sense that Wenger wants a centre-half pairing that enables the team to play a higher line.
A loan move has been mooted for Chambers, and it could be that Holding has been brought in to fill the role of fourth-choice centre back while Chambers leaves the North Londoners for a season.
It is somewhat confusing then that The Sun link Arsenal with two other young defenders – Manchester City’s Jason Denayer and Borussia Dortmund’s Matthias Ginter.
Denayer is a full Belgium international but is not expected to get much of a look-in under Pep Guardiola at Man City.
Ginter has been linked with Arsenal in the past, and can play at full-back as well as in the centre of defence. This versatility makes the 22-year-old an attractive prospect.
Further up the pitch, The Express are reporting that Juventus have cooled their interest in Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain after balking at his release clause.
They describe this as a ‘boost’ to Arsenal’s chances of signing the player, but one has to ask if Arsenal are any more likely than Juventus to stump up an astronomical £80 million.
If the Old Lady; potentially flush with upwards of £100 million should Paul Pogba join Manchester United or Real Madrid, decided against paying up then it is highly unlikely Arsenal will press ahead. For that money, Wenger is sure to be able to fill the required striking addition, with at least half of the cash going spare.
The fact remains though – The Gunners are in the market for a forward this summer, and if the fans do not get their wish, dissatisfaction will be putting it mildly.