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Arsenal defender Rob Holding signs new long-term contract at the Emirates

Rob Holding has pledged his future to Arsenal by signing a new, long-term contract with the club.

Sportsmail revealed on January 1 that Holding was set to avoid Mikel Arteta’s squad cull after forcing his way back into the Spaniard’s plans this season.

The defender almost joined Newcastle United on loan in August but the move was blocked by Arteta.

Holding has since made 18 appearances in all competitions and has started the last 11 Premier League games.

The 25-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Bolton in 2016, has had to battle back from a serious knee injury which he picked up in 2018.

The defender ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament and spent nine months on the sidelines.

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Holding was a regular starter during Project Restart last season and helped the Gunners lift their 14th FA Cup.

His deal was set to expire in 2023 and the summer arrivals of Gabriel and Pablo Mari threatened to push the centre back down the pecking order. A loan move to the Magpies was close to being completed before Arteta stepped in.

The Spaniard wants to trim his bloated squad but sees Holding as a key part of his long-term plans, even rewarding him with the captain’s armband for the game against Everton in December.

The manager recently praised Holding’s resurgence, saying: ‘It was almost a year ago when he came back from his injury. He had a period when he did not play.

‘When you compare how he has evolved from there to now, in a year’s time, it is incredible.

‘It is down to him, how professional he is, how much he wants to learn, how much he puts into every training session and then his character and his personality.’

The defender has stood out in recent victories over Chelsea, Brighton and West Brom, with Arsenal conceding just one goal across the last three games.

The Gunners are now just six points off fourth place and booked their place in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday with an extra-time victory over Newcastle.

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