Mikel Arteta’s verdict on Rob Holding would mean it is a huge surprise if the centre-back was sold this summer.
A report from The Times today has claimed Holding could be sold despite only signing a new contract this season with Brighton’s Ben White expecting to sign on a £50million deal.
The presence of Gabrial Magalhaes and the return of William Saliba from his loan spell at Nice means the Gunners have plenty of options at centre-back, with Pablo Mari also an option for Arteta.
The news is surprising given how much Holding impressed last season, the 25-year-old having his best season yet despite his injury problems and the poor season the Gunners had.
And comments from Arteta from last season, as reported by the Evening Standard, mean the sale of Holding would be even more surprising with the Arsenal boss waxing lyrical over the centre-back, also reporting he blocked an exit for the once injury troubled defender.
“It was almost a year ago when he came back from his injury,” said Arteta.
“He had a period when he did not play and then he played against Leeds at home. When you compare how he has evolved from there to now, in a year’s time, it is incredible.
“It is down to him, how professional he is, how much he wants to learn, how much he puts into every training session and then his character and his personality.
“He is growing in every aspect. I am really happy with him. It is true that in the summer he came to me because we had a large amount of central defenders and he was not sure about how many minutes he was going to have.
“We stopped him going anywhere because we knew he was going to be an important player for us.”
With that in mind, and indeed the recent contract Holding has signed, it would be a real shock to see him depart, but Arsenal are keen to shake things up this summer, so it may be a space worth watching.