According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal have pulled the plug on Rob Holding’s proposed loan move to Newcastle, after the centre-back impressed Mikel Arteta.
The ex-Bolton defender found game time hard to come by in north London last term, making just eight appearances in the Premier League while jostling with David Luiz, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi for action.
Holding’s chances of making Arteta’s XI seemed to have become even thinner following the arrivals of Gabriel Magalhães and William Saliba, but Pep Guardiola’s former assistant appears to have grown fond of the 24-year-old following impressive displays in the FA Cup final and also in the Community Shield.
Holding isn’t necessary, unless…
While the Englishman is a tidy defender who stepped up for the Gunners in two significant Wembley showpieces, Steve Bruce shouldn’t be too downhearted about missing out on his signature – nor should the rest of us.
We already have a wealth of solid options at the back, such as Jamaal Lascelles, Fabian Schar, Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez and Florian Lejeune, while Paul Dummett also made 13 appearances in the centre of defence last term.
Just by looking at those options, Bruce has a task on his hands. Our most used formation last season was a 5-4-1 system according to WhoScored, meaning that the Magpies boss will need to disappoint three of his six options before each matchday – assuming they’re all fit, that is.
However, while it is true that Holding would only add to Bruce’s selection headache, his arrival might become necessary if Schar does leave St James’ Park. The Switzerland international – arguably our best option amongst the lot – is out of contract at the end of the upcoming season according to The Chronicle, and is free to talk with clubs from January.
Should the former FC Basel star leave Tyneside in this window, Lee Charnley may just need to convince Arteta to make yet another U-turn on Holding’s future.