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Rob Holding has revealed that he nearly left Arsenal during the summer following Arsene Wenger’s departure and Unai Emery’s arrival.
The 23-year-old center back has been very impressive this season, having grown into a key figure under Emery.
He could easily have been playing elsewhere now, as he almost left the club in the summer, but surprising to many, Callum Chambers was loaned out instead, and while the latter has had a mixed spell so far at Fulham, the former has taken his chance and has vindicated the decision to keep him.
“Over the offseason, with my dad and my agent, we were thinking should I go out on loan and hopefully get some game time?” the defender told Sky Sports.
“But then the manager [Arsene Wenger] obviously announced he was retiring and then it was ‘do I want to be out the door, rather than be in front of him [Emery] and be like, this is me, I want to play for your team?’
“So we took the decision to stay and do pre-season here and from pre-season, he liked the look of me and I sort of knew I was part of his plans.
“Contract-wise, Arsene Wenger was staying for another year and I signed another contract with Arsene as manager and then a few weeks later he announced it [he was leaving].
“I was thinking: ‘I’ve just signed for another four years and you’re now leaving!’
“But it gave me that security to know that I had another few years to work on something and hopefully break into the team.
“Now, I think this is my best run in an Arsenal shirt. It’s been 12 games consistently playing to a good level, not playing because someone is injured but on merit. That gives you more confidence.”