Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Rob Holding won’t be heading through the exit door during the ongoing transfer window.
The 24-year-old was in-and-out of the starting lineup last season after recovering from a long-term knee injury and it appeared that he could be loaned out after the arrival of Gabriel from Lille.
However, his proposed season-long loan to Newcastle United was eventually blocked by Arteta, who had been impressed with his recent performances in the club’s shirt.
Holding played through the entire 90 minutes of the season opener against Fulham, which the Gunners won by a comfortable 3-0 scoreline and following the game, Arteta revealed his conversation with the defender.
He told: “I said to him, change your mind because you are not going anywhere. Rob is another one that stands for every value that we want at the football club.
“He had a really difficult time but he trained and pursued his dream to play for this football club. Now why would I have to let him go? You are already playing so what else do you want?”
Holding has come for criticism from some fans in the past with his distribution being one of his weaknesses. However, he has worked on the same and has managed to improve on his passing range.
The Gunners are currently going through a defensive injury crisis with five centre-backs on the sidelines and Holding is just one of three central defenders alongside Gabriel and William Saliba, who are available for selection.
Pablo Mari, Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers are still on the recovery path after the injuries picked up last season while David Luiz and Sokratis are also out of contention after recent setbacks.
Luiz has picked up a neck injury, which could keep him out of action for six weeks and that will have increased the importance of Holding, who is the only fit centre-back with reasonable Premier League experience.
Gabriel and left-back Kieran Tierney fitted perfectly alongside him in the back three at Craven Cottage and the former had a memorable debut as he scored the club’s second goal and was handed the official Man of the Match award.
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