Mikel Arteta confident Arsenal will be Holding on to Rob

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed defender Rob Holding is set to sign a new deal with the club.

The centre-back’s current terms do not expire until the summer of 2023, but the Gunners will reward his impressive form with an improved contract.

Holding could have left the Emirates in the summer with Newcastle among a number of teams chasing his signature, but the move was blocked by his manager and the 25-year-old has gone on to make 18 appearances this term – the same amount he managed last season.

Asked if the current first-choice would extend his stay at Arsenal, Arteta said: “It’s something we will announce as quick as we can and it looks that way.”

Crystal Palace visit on Thursday in the Premier League and Holding is set to line up at the heart of defence while several players could return for the hosts.

Gabriel has missed the last four games after he tested positive for coronavirus, but has recovered and is back in training alongside Thomas Partey, who has not played in a month due to a thigh injury.

Arteta added: “He (Gabriel) tested positive, he had very mild symptoms so he’s missed a few weeks of training because he had to be isolated.

“He’s better now, we expect him to be training with us the next couple of days and we’ll make an assessment whether we can have him or not on Thursday.

“Thomas has been full training for the last four or five days. He’s completely asymptomatic (of his thigh injury). He was a little bit rushed to try to play him against Newcastle, but I think he will be ready for Thursday.”

The Spaniard is still waiting for young forward Gabriel Martinelli to have a scan following an ankle injury sustained in the warm-up ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup win over Newcastle.

After he missed a large chunk of football in 2020 with a knee injury, Arteta is hopeful the result will be positive.

He admitted: “We don’t know how bad it is, he is getting a scan this morning. We didn’t look after the game because he was in a lot of pain.

“Yesterday he tested a little bit better so let’s hope we have a scan today and it is not as serious and we can have Gabi back really soon, but we will know more tomorrow.”

Arteta was unable to provide an update on Mesut Ozil’s future, although the German is due to take part in a Twitter question and answer session later on Monday where he will talk about “the past, present and future”.

“My understanding is nothing has changed from the last press conference, that Edu and the club are having some conversations about the near future and the long-term future and when we know something, we’ll announce it,” the 38-year-old confirmed.

“He has done it in the past, it is something he tried to do to engage with his fans and keep everyone informed. I am not surprised.”

The Arsenal manager also revealed there are no plans for the club to allow Eddie Nketiah to leave this month, but the Gunners are very much in the market for a goalkeeper, the PA news agency understands.

It could be either a loan or short-term deal and if completed could result in Alex Runarsson exiting on loan or reverting to third choice.