Arsenal open contract talks with Rob Holding days after own goal sinks Gunners

Arsenal have reportedly opened talks with Rob Holding over a new contract – just days after the defender scored an own goal in their eighth defeat of the season.

Holding, 25, deflected Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s header into his own net to give Everton the lead in a 2-1 loss at Goodison Park on Saturday night.

Mikel Arteta’s side are in disarray this term, with their latest shortcoming on Merseyside leaving them just four points above the relegation zone in 15th.

As things stand, they could even drop one more place into 16th if Burnley win the game-in-hand at their disposal.

Nevertheless, Football Insider are reporting that Holding is now in talks with Arsenal over extending his stay at The Emirates despite Saturday’s setback.

His current contract is set to run until the summer of 2023, but the north London club are keen to tie him down to a fresh long-term deal.

The centre-back’s future was the subject of speculation in the previous summer and autumn transfer window, having been heavily linked with a loan move to Newcastle.

Yet, it is believed Arteta is a huge admirer of Holding, who has been at Arsenal since 2016, and does not want to lose him anytime soon.

Only new recruit Gabriel Magalhaes has started more Premier League games at centre-half for the Gunners this season.

He has been unable to pull them out of their current slump, however, which has left club officials fearing the worst-case scenario of relegation to the Championship.

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According to The Telegraph, Arsenal are making contingency plans just in case they are sent packing to the second tier next season.

It is believed reduction clauses have been inserted into players’ contracts to act as a financial safety net should the unthinkable happen, with top earners Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil on an estimated £350,000 per week.

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