That’s the damning verdict of former Gunners striker Paul Mariner, who thinks Unai Emery needs to convince AWOL captain Laurent Koscielny to stay at the Emirates this summer.
Koscielny, 33, has refused to travel to America as part of the club’s pre-season tour.
It is believed the Frenchman is unhappy after being denied a move away this summer, with a year still to run on his current contract.
Arsenal were in desperate need of defensive reinforcements before Koscielny’s US snub; Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis weren’t convincing in 2018/19, youngster Konstantinos Mavropanos reportedly ‘concerns’ boss Emery and Holding is only just returning from a six-month spell on the sidelines with an ACL injury.
“Everybody’s waiting for Rob Holding to come back, he’s gonna be the saviour… he’s not gonna be the saviour! He is not!”
Some Gunners fans are eager for Holding to regain full fitness amid their defensive woes, but Mariner insists the 23-year-old will not fix their problems.
“We keep harping on [about] where do Arsenal need to strengthen, they need to strengthen at the back,” he told ESPN FC.
“Now the thing is, Koscielny is not the player that he used to be, but he’s still one of the better players that they’ve got in that back four – and it’s not a very good back four.
“Everybody’s waiting for Rob Holding to come back, he’s gonna be the saviour… he’s not gonna be the saviour! He is not!
“So Unai Emery has got to get hold of Koscielny and say ‘look mate, I need you to pull this around for another 12 months or until the window in January, and then we’ll maybe let you go or do something about it.’
“But at the moment, he is their player.”
Mariner’s fellow pundit and ex-Liverpool defender Steve Nicol believes Emery should take the captaincy away from Koscielny, before fining the player and hoping he sees sense to stay at the club.
“Who does he think he is?” he said.
“Yes, he’s been at Arsenal for over a decade. Yes, he’s been a great servant to the club.
“But you know what, it comes to us all. He knows that. He must know that he’s had a tough last 12 months, so for him to even think that he should be doing this tells you that his head’s not in it.
“I think the first thing you do is you take the captaincy away from him, that’s the first thing you do.
“The second thing you do is you fine him as much as you can, and then you hope that he sees sense and turns round and says ‘ok, I’m in the last year of my deal. The best thing for me to do is play and give my best.’”