Newcastle United lead the race to sign Rob Holding on loan from Arsenal, according to David Ornstein of The Athletic.
Holding has been playing very well since head coach Mikel Arteta started giving him a chance in his back-three system due to the injury suffered by Shkodran Mustafi. Pablo Mari and Calum Chambers have also been out for a while. Holding’s contribution was particularly notable in Arsenal’s triumph over Premier League champions Liverpool in the Community Shield, when he repeatedly thwarted the attacking efforts of Sadio Mane.
However, Arteta’s defence has receive some fresh blood in the form of William Saliba who finally joined the club after his season-long loan with former club Saint-Etienne, while the signing of Lille OSC centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes apparently imminent as well.
Several clubs are keen to give Holding a chance to continue his development on a temporary basis and in turn benefit from his presence, but Newcastle are at the head of the queue at the moment. However, nothing has been agreed yet and even if it does happen, the deal is unlikely to include any kind of option for the Magpies to turn the transfer into a permanent. It clearly shows that Arteta has faith in the 24-year-old defender and his role in the team in the future.
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce apparently isn’t too happy with the options for the middle part of his defence, and the proposed acquisition of Holding, even on a temporary basis, would be considered a huge boost for their prospects in 2020/21.
Meanwhile, the situation surrounding the contract of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang remains officially unresolved, though all the signs point in the right direction – that the captain will soon sign a new contract with the Gunners. While speaking to the press after the Liverpool game, Arteta was also asked about Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The versatile wide man has reportedly been a of interest from Brighton and Hove Albion and the subject of a rejected £15 million bid from Wolverhampton Wanderers, but the boss was very clear in saying that he rates the player highly, and stressed the need for him to prove he can deliver on a regular basis in order to get the game-time he requires.