Holding to sign new Arsenal deal after being identified as ’emerging leader’

Arsenal centre-back Rob Holding looks set to put pen to paper on a new contract at the club.

The 25-year-old has made 14 appearances in the Premier League so far this season and has emerged as a hugely important part of Mikel Arteta's side.

His future looked in doubt over the summer, with reports suggesting he could leave to join the likes of Newcastle.

But according to The Athletic both Arteta and technical director Edu have been impressed with Holding both on and off the pitch of late.

And they see him as an important part of the team going forward due to his presence in the dressing room and strong leadership skills.

Holding suffered a serious knee injury in 2018 which saw him ruled out for nine months, and there were fears that he would never return to the level he previously showed.

But he is now seems to be a first-choice pick at the back and is beginning to form a strong understanding with Pablo Mari.

Speaking about the prospect of a new deal for Holding, Arteta seemed to indicate an official announcement was imminent.

Ahead of his side's game against Crystal Palace on Thursday, Arteta said: "It's something that we will announce as soon as we can but it looks like it."

Holding's current deal runs until 2023, but it looks almost certain he will end up staying for many years longer.

Meanwhile, backup goalkeeper Alex Runarsson could be set for a loan move this month.

The Icelandic international received criticism for his performance in the 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup.

And it does not look as though he is quite ready for first-team football with the Gunners yet, and may well leave to gain some valuable playing experience elsewhere.

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