Newcastle United are set to finalise the loan signing of Arsenal centre-back Rob Holding in the coming days.
The 25-year-old defender joined Arsenal from Bolton Wanderers in 2016 for less than £3m. After returning from a severe cruciate ligament rupture in the summer of 2019, Holding struggled for first team opportunities in the opening half of last season.
However, the former England under-21 international has enjoyed a flurry of starts in recent months after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta switched to a three-man defence. Holding featured in Arsenal's final five matches of the season, starting the triumphant FA Cup final against Chelsea.
He also played the full 90 minutes against Liverpool in the 2020/21 season opening Community Shield, but that penalty shootout win may prove to be his last Arsenal appearance for some time as the Daily Mail report that Newcastle are inching ever closer to securing Holding's services on loan.
Holding would become Newcastle's third signing of the summer and the third which involved no transfer fee. Former Motherwell goalkeeper Mark Gillespie and ex-Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick have both arrived at St James' Park on free transfers as the club pursue deals on a tight budget heavily slashed by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Arsenal have dabbled in the free agent market themselves - bringing Willian to the Emirates from Chelsea - but the north London club are comfortable letting Holding depart as they close in on the £27m signing of Gabriel Magalhães.
The Brazil youth international is set to join the returning loanee William Saliba as Arsenal's defensive reinforcements.
Alongside Holding, Newcastle are also interested in Arsenal's versatile Ainsley Maitland-Niles. The academy graduate put in a man of the match performance in the Community Shield as a left wing-back but suggests that the right side of attack is his best position. That said, Bruce's side are thought to be put off by the £25m valuation Arsenal have given the 23-year-old.