England under-21 international Rob Holding is close to becoming an Arsenal player, according to Sky Sports.
Holding, 20, arrived in London for a medical on Monday and to negotiate and accept personal terms. It comes after the Gunners had a £2m offer accepted in a cut price deal, due to Bolton Wanderers’ ongoing financial problems that ultimately led to relegation from the Championship last season.
It marks the end of 13 years at the Greater Manchester club for the defender.
Despite Wanderers’ problems, Holding was a glimmer of hope at the Macron - culminating in him becoming their Player of the Year in just his first senior season, making 30 appearances in the process.
Wenger dips into his pockets
It will mark Arsene Wenger’s third signing of the summer so far, joining Granit Xhaka and Takuma Asano through the gates at London Colney. Adept at playing in the centre of defence as well as a full-back, Holding’s versatility will be useful for Wenger, who will have fitness issues to worry about going into the season opener against Liverpool on 14 August.
Holding also gained selection for England’s successful Toulon tournament this summer, impressing in the process during his two appearances in central defence; in what turned out to be a victorious campaign for under-21 manager Gareth Southgate, who is thought to rate him highly.
Arsenal were rumoured to have beaten several clubs in the race to sign Holding, who attracted major attention throughout the campaign. That led to to caretaker manager Jimmy Phillips being instructed to leave the him out of the side for their last game of the season - a 1-0 defeat to Fulham - in a desperate plight to keep the talented youngster.
Speaking in May to The Bolton News, Phillips claimed: "I was asked by the board of directors not to play him. It would appear some clubs are interested in him somewhere down the line."