Highly rated Bolton Wanderers defender Rob Holding, an England Under-21 international is once again the centre of transfer speculation after Bournemouth are the latest club to have a bid for the 20-year old rejected Arsenal are another club linked with the player. Bolton value Holding at around £5 million with the Gunners making a roughly £2 million offer for the player according to the Daily Mail back in May, with one year left to run on his contract.
Everton and Bournemouth were thought to be interested in the player but were yet to make an official approach until reports from the Bolton Mail that Bournemouth had been rebuffed by the Lancashire side on Wednesday, with Bolton desperate to maximise Holding’s value given the precarious financial position of the club following its exit from administration.
Reading had a £750,000 bid rejected during the January transfer window for the versatile Holding who forced his way into Bolton’s first team in 2015-16, making 26 appearances. Bolton took up an option to extend his contract but the Championship seems a far more lucrative destination for the promising youngster rather than ply his trade in League One with the Trotters.
Bolton are still struggling to raise funds after Dean Holdsworth’s Sports Shield consortium took control of the troubled club and are under immense pressure to sell the likes of Holding and other young stars such as Zach Clough to keep the club afloat. Large earners like Emile Heskey and Eidur Gudjohnsen have already been forced off the books with the club finding itself hands tied and in dire need of slashing the wage bill.
It is likely that the club is turning away approaches for their asset not with the intention of keeping him at the club, but merely in anticipation of the right offer. Their valuation of the player and the fee they receive will be vital for the club’s immediate future and new manager Phil Parkinson along with the club’s new hierarchy simply cannot afford to allow their player to leave for any less than the right price.
Following the takeover and the majority of their supposed £172.9m worth of debt written off by new board member Eddie Davies, Bolton fans should be looking forward to a new chapter and a chance to rebuild go again in the third tier. However what has become apparent is that it will still be testing times at the Macron Stadium as the club tightens its purse strings, and Holding is just one of a few of the clubs promising youngsters who will be forced to make way for the good of the club.
It is only a matter of time as the Lancashire side hold out for the right offer, and they will be biting their nails hoping that it comes sooner rather than later so that Phil Parkinson can begin to assemble a budget squad and identify the areas in need of recruitment. It has been a dark period for the former top flight club, and only time will tell if there is light at the end of the tunnel.