It hasn’t been officially announced by the club, but all indications suggest that defender Rob Holding has signed a new contract.
In today’s press conference, Mikel Arteta was asked about Rob Holding singing a new contract: “It’s something that we will announce as quickly as we can, but it looks like it.”
Additionally, David Ornstein of The Athletic tweeted saying, “Rob Holding commits to Arsenal by signing new long-term contract. Centre-back close to Newcastle loan in Aug but Arteta blocked & now regular starter. 25yo seen as emerging leader + recently extended deal which ran until 2023”
We will wait to see the details of this new contract once announced before officially weighing in on that, but we can talk about why Holding has likely received this new agreement.
His current contract, or previous one if he has already signed, expires in 2023, so it’s fair to assume that a pressing timeline wasn’t part of the conversation. However, Rob Holding was one of the lowest paid Arsenal players in the squad on £25,000-per-week according to spotrac.com.
That nets him £1.3 million a year and means only 4 players are listed below him in terms of weekly wages. Ironically, those players contain Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson, Bukayo Saka, and Emile Smith Rowe, two of which are currently holding Arsenal’s fate in their hands at the moment. It’s fair to assume Arsenal will have to pony up on their deals in the near future as well — despite having just given the likes of Saka a new contract.
For a player that has made 18 appearances this year and played over 1500 minutes already, £25,000-a-week doesn’t feel like an adequate salary. As much as this deal was about retaining Rob Holding’s interests in Arsenal and maintaining his value, it was also a matter of properly compensating him for what he was offering.
I don’t expect this to be a boost that suddenly sees Holding in the upper echelons of Arsenal’s pay roll, but I imagine it will put him in a bracket that more adequately represents his role in the team.
For those that are not huge fans of Rob Holding, nor understand what he could be offering the side that the likes of William Saliba couldn’t, I don’t think you have to worry. In my eyes, signing Rob Holding to an extended deal does not signify Arsenal’s outright commitment to Holding as the starter, nor their separation from a future with William Saliba or another right-center back.
Rob Holding has been a consistent member of Arsenal’s defense this season, and it is a defense that boasts the 4th best GA stats in the Premier League. Only Aston Villa, Tottenham, and Manchester City have conceded fewer than Arsenal this season, which is a tip of the cap toward Holding who has made 14 Premier League appearances.
Should there come a point in the future in which Arsenal look to still move Rob Holding on in the transfer market, an outcome that is still very possible, this contract keeps his value high, keeps Arsenal in control of the situation rather than being forced to make a choice in two years, and avoids the disastrous situation we have seen the club put themselves in with other players recently.
All in all, it’s a deal that makes plenty of sense, even if Rob Holding is replaced in the coming year and files into a backup spot. At the moment though, he seems in full control of his own destiny, which is a great place to be.