Arsenal defender Rob Holding has reportedly decided against leaving the club in the summer despite recently being called out for not being capable of cutting it at the highest level.
According to transfer expert Dean Jones, Holding will not be seeking a summer exit, even though he has only started three Premier League matches all season.
The 27-year-old has been behind William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes in the pecking order at centre-back. Further competition for his place arrived in January in the shape of Jakub Kiwior.
Furthermore, Arsenal have been using Benjamin White at right-back this season. But he also would likely be preferred to Holding at centre-half too.
Nevertheless, Holding will not be looking for a new club in the summer, according to Jones.
The journalist told Give Me Sport: “He’s not going to be looking for a move because I think he’s still got a role to play in that team, especially with the number of competitions they’ll be in and the amount of games they’ll have next season.
“I still feel he might actually be quite important.”
Holding has been with Arsenal since 2016, when he joined them from Bolton Wanderers. Since then, he has made more than 150 appearances for the club.
His contract is due to expire at the end of next season. However, Arsenal have the option to extend it by a further 12 months if they wish.
Whether they take that up or not remains to be seen. If not, this summer could be their last realistic chance to cash in on Holding.
But there haven’t been many reports about clubs who could be interested in the former England under-21 international. Hence, he might not be the most marketable player anyway.
Rob Holding to remain at Arsenal in squad role
With that in mind, if he is happy to continue in a backup role, Arsenal may as well keep hold of him as they aim to juggle the three domestic competitions with what is shaping up to be a long-awaited Champions League return next season.
Along with Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny, Holding is the only member of the current Arsenal squad to have been at the club last time they were in the Champions League, in the 2016-17 season (although other players currently at Mikel Arteta’s disposal have played in the competition for other clubs).
That said, at the weekend, Roy Keane questioned Holding’s ability to play at the highest level.
Speaking before Arsenal’s draw with Liverpool, which Holding started and gave away a penalty in, Keane told Sky Sports: “He doesn’t play regularly and there’s a reason for that. There’s obviously better players in his position at the club.
“I’m not his biggest fan, I have to say. He’s no doubt a good pro. I think I worry at this level, his real lack of pace, I think sometimes he gets too tight to people.”
Keane concluded: “On the turn, he’s very, very slow. Good, honest player and he’ll attack it, but in terms of quick play in and around his feet, I think he’s short at the highest level.”
That said, Holding has a chance of being a Premier League winner if Arsenal can stay top of the table by the end of the season.
And it seems he will be sticking around at the Emirates Stadium next year too.