Daily Archives: June 9, 2016
The European Championships is just a day away and I’m quite happy because watching some football, as in, real football, would help me drift away from the madness that is the transfer window. I know it’s just June and this madness is going to go on till early September to say the least, but teams in the Premier League are trying to do their business early so that their new recruits can integrate easily with their new teams ahead of what will prove to be an exciting campaign.
From an Arsenal perspective, we are now playing the waiting game with Jamie Vardy. Word on the street is that he has actually accepted Arsenal’s offer but he wants to wait for the European Championships to be over before he ‘makes his decision’. Apparently, Arsenal is also ready to ‘wait’ for the stirker. You can’t blame him because the last time I checked, he’s a fox.
Moving away from the Vardy saga for a minute, Arsenal are closing in on signing with a youngster from Bolton, Rob Holding, who turned out to be their Player of the Year last season. The Express reported this yesterday and went as far as writing that Arsenal has reached a £1.5 million agreement with Bolton, and this package includes performance related add-ons. It was a terrible campaign for Bolton last season, as they suffered the ignominy of relegation from the SkyBet Championship but Holding was a bright spark in a relatively dark campaign for the Trotters.
The lad joined Bolton when he was seven and he grew through the ranks before making his debut last season at 19. He got a stint of international soccer when he featured for the England U-21s alongside Arsenal’s Calum Chambers in the 2016 Toulon Tournament. England were triumphant in this competition. The center back made 26 appearances in the Championship as well as Bolton’s three FA Cup matches and one League Cup match.
It’s quite interesting seeing Arsenal’s go for this lad, bearing in mind that the team is relatively stocked in center back. Current vice-captain, Per Mertesacker, is in his early 30’s as well as his partner in crime, Laurent Koscielny, but in Gabriel Paulista, they have a deputy that is still a bit rough on the edges. Then there’s Calum Chambers that has featured as a center back from time to time, so bringing in a lad like Holding means there’s a succession plan in place for the elder statesmen at the back.
Elsewhere, Arsenal are bracing themselves to offer their primary right back, Hector Bellerin, a new deal to extend his stay at the Emirates. The full back was snapped up from Barcelona’s La Masia academy in 2011 and played for the youth squads before playing his first professional football games at Watford on loan. His debut came up in the 2013/14 season when Arsenal visited West Brom in a League Cup encounter but Bellerin got his breakthrough in the 2014/15 season when he capitalized on Matt Debuchy’s shortcomings to make the right back position his for keeps.
Bellerin continued the good work last season and fate smiled on him as Dani Carvajal’s injury in the Champions League final paved the way for the Arsenal full back to feature for the Spanish national team. He has notched up three caps so far and will battle with Atletico’s Juanfran to earn the right to be Spain’s main full back.
The new deal for Bellerin is believed to be £75,000-per-week and it would be no less than he deserves. We will be monitoring the situation closely and hope it comes to fruition.
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