Arsenal’s Rob Holding will be on Newcastle’s January centre-back shortlist, journalist Pete O’Rourke has told Give Me Sport.
A recent report from The Daily Mail suggested that the Magpies want to sign two centre-backs this month, while The Athletic‘s Chris Waugh said over the weekend that the club were hopeful of adding both Lille’s Sven Botman and Seville’s Diego Carlos to their ranks.
A potential alternative to the aforementioned duo, especially with Botman seemingly now unattainable, Holding has two-and-a-half years remaining on his Arsenal contract and is valued at £10.8m by Transfermarkt.
Speaking to Give Me Sport, O’Rourke is certain that the Gunners defender is one of the names under consideration at St James’ Park.
He stated: “Rob Holding at Arsenal. I’m sure he’s on Newcastle’s list.”
Holding has found Premier League minutes hard to come by this season as he battles with the likes of Gabriel and Ben White. He has only started three times in the top flight in 2021/22, with most of his game-time coming in the domestic cups.
He may duly be open to leaving the Emirates Stadium and, intriguingly, data from FBRef shows he’s stylistically similar to Botman, with a high volume of progressive passes and blocks.
He also earned praise last month for reporting alleged racist abuse of some Arsenal team-mates during one Premier League match, with a statement from the anti-racism group Kick It Out saying that “his actions are a great example of taking a stand and being an ally to his team-mates” (The Mirror).
Is he actually good enough to address Newcastle’s defensive woes, though?
If scouts were watching him on Sunday, they may be far from convinced. Holding produced what Football FanCast editor Matt Dawson called a ‘royal stinker’ as Arsenal were shocked by Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup, while he ranks a lowly 18th in WhoScored‘s performance rankings among Mikel Arteta’s squad this season.
Ultimately, Newcastle can’t afford to take any chances on these crucial signings, especially with their Premier League status on the line beyond the midway point of the season.
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