Deal close: Arsenal set to sign emerging English star after second bid - sources
By Editor Wayne Veysey | Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Arsenal are hopeful of tying up a deal for Bolton centre-back Rob Holding, Football Insider sources understand.
The 20-year-old has attracted interest from leading Premier League clubs on the back of a fine debut season that ended with him being voted the club’s Player of the Year by supporters.
A well-placed Arsenal source has told Football Insider that the club have made two bids for Englishman Holding, who has been compared to Everton’s John Stones for his ability on the ball in defence.
The opening offer was of £750,000 but that was rejected by the Bolton board, who are keen to hold on to their prize asset to help them get back to the second tier next season.
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The source has said the second bid from Arsenal was worth up to £1.5million including add-ons.
Tottenham, Everton and Bournemouth are also keen to sign the Trotters academy graduate, who was one of the few shining lights in a disastrous campaign for the finally-stricken club that ended in relegation from the Championship to League One.
The defender has been on the radar of a number of top-flight clubs since making his first-team debut last August.
Harding has been a mainstay of the team, making 30 appearances, including 26 in the Championship, and recently signed a one-year contract extension at his hometown club.
But it is reported that Holding favours a move to Arsenal and is keen for the transfer to happen if a price can be agreed with Bolton.
Holding was also a member of the England’s Under-21s that recently won the prestigious Toulon Tournament.
In other Arsenal transfer news, the club are continuing to pursue a new striker as they wait for an answer from top target Jamie Vardy.