Rob Holding seemed all set for a summer move to St James’ Park back in September, yet the deal suddenly fell through as Mikel Arteta called him up to his Arsenal XI.
A few months on, The Chronicle have gained some insight from North London, helping explain why the centre-backs proposed move collapsed.
Here’s what Chris Wheatley – an Arsenal reporter at Football.London – has had to say about the loan deal that never was:
“Holding was really close to joining Newcastle on loan,”
“He had accepted that he wasn’t going to play regularly this season because of Arsenal’s large number of centre back options.
“However, a number of injury problems and uncertainties opened up a place for him in the team.
“They signed Gabriel in the summer. Sokratis Papastathopoulos wasn’t registered, Shkodran Mustafi, Pablo Mari, and Calum Chambers were all injured at the time, which naturally saw Holding step into the team.”
Wheatley then discussed Holding’s form so far this season after being thrown into Mike Arteta’s plans, with the 25-year-old starting all bar one of Arsenal’s league games this season when fit:
“He’s done relatively well,”
“Arteta likes him because he’s extremely committed and hard working. He listens to tactical instructions and an example of his tough personality was when he started at Old Trafford after having just one pre-match training session.
“The defeat to Villa was an example of Holding’s weaknesses. He can be exploited in one-on-one situations by faster, technical players but his general reading of the game is at a high level and he would fit into many of the bottom half Premier League teams.”
Finally, Wheatley explains why his long-term future may be away from The Emirates, believing the club would cash in on the former Bolton star if a ‘good offer’ arrived:
“For Mikel Arteta he has the added bonus of Holding being a homegrown player,”
“If a good offer came in for him I think he would accept it but it’s clear that at this current moment in time he’s trusted by the Arsenal manager.
“The Gunners also have William Saliba and Dinos Mavropanos waiting in the wings, so I’d say that Holding’s long-term future probably isn’t at Arsenal if you’re judging it from the players they’ve signed in the past two transfer windows.”
Considering Arsenal were all set to loan him out before injuries hit Mike Arteta’s squad, it feels like this won’t be the last time we see Holding linked with a move to Tyneside.
One to watch next summer, perhaps?