By Wayne Veysey

22nd Dec, 2020 | 10:00am

Exclusive: Big update on Leeds bid to sign defender in Jan after contact made

Leeds United have been told that defender target Rob Holding is likely to sign a new Arsenal contract after securing a regular starting role, Football Insider understands.

The centre-back, 25, has been targeted by the Yorkshire giants this year as a potential loan signing.

Leeds enquired about Holding in the summer and have looked at him again going into the January window amid a centre-back injury crisis.

Liam Cooper became the fourth of United’s four senior centre-backs to break down with injury in Sunday’s 6-2 defeat to Man United.

He joined long-term absentees Robin Koch, Diego Llorente and Gaetano Berardi on the sidelines, and faces a race against time to be fit for the club’s next league match against Burnley on Sunday.

Marcelo Bielsa has ruled out a permanent defender signing in January, but a potential loan deal is being considered by the club.

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Holding has been assessed by Leeds as he has extensive Premier League experience and considered capable of adapting to Bielsa’s precise playing style.

However, he has started to establish himself at Arsenal, and as revealed by Football Insider, has now opened talks over a new long-term contract.

The player’s plan is to stay at Emirates Stadium in the new year, which would mean Leeds pursuing alternative centre-back targets.

Fikayo Tomori is also a possibility for Leeds after dropping to the fringes at Chelsea and he failed to make their 20-man matchday squad for Monday’s 3-0 win over West Ham.

Leeds have the worst defensive record in the Premier League this season, conceding 30 goals in their 14 matches.

In other news, Leeds United have been given a major boost in bid to sign player club will let go for £8million.