Arsenal defender Rob Holding close to Newcastle loan move

Arsenal v Liverpool - FA Community Shield
Rob Holding is set for a short-term move away from the Emirates (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal defender Rob Holding is nearing a loan move to Newcastle United, with a deal expected to be completed this week.

The centre-back started and impressed in the Community Shield win over Liverpool last week, but with a plethora of options in the middle of defence for Mikel Arteta, Holding appears to be on his way out of the Emirates.

The former Bolton man, who turns 25 this month, is under contract at Arsenal until 2023 and will not be leaving on a permanent deal as he could still have a future in north London.

Holding had looked like he was securing a place in the first team at the start of the 2019/20 season before suffering a serious knee injury which kept him out for the majority of the campaign.

Newcastle appear to have won the race to sign him on loan, with newly-promoted Leeds United also interested in bringing him in, with the Guardian reporting that a deal will be done this week to take him to St James’ Park.

Arsenal played three central defenders against Liverpool at Wembley and Arteta has deployed that formation regularly, but even with a three-man defence, competition is fierce for places in the starting XI.

David Luiz, Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari, Calum Chambers and William Saliba are traditional centre-backs, while Cedric Soares, Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney can operate on either side of the back three.

The Gunners are also expected to complete the signing of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille in the coming days, adding yet more competition in defence.

The Brazilian had attracted the attention of Manchester United and Napoli but Arsenal appear to have won the race for his signature and former Gunners man Martin Keown is very excited about his expected arrival.

‘I sincerely hope so (he signs) he’s really strong, quick, left-footed player,’ he told BT Sport. ‘I saw him play against Chelsea for Lille last season I went out to watch him.

‘Magnificent player, I think he’s the future. He sees danger and he’s a leader. He’s strong, powerful, I sincerely hope this transfer does go through and he becomes an Arsenal player.

‘That will really secure them at the back whether it’s going to be a four or a three I think this lad can play in either system.’

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