Report: Arsenal Eyeing Eric Bailly and Gary Cahill After Rob Holding Injury

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2018

Eric Bailly (right)
Eric Bailly (right)Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Arsenal are reportedly considering a move for Manchester United's Eric Bailly or Chelsea's Gary Cahill in the January transfer window after centre-back Rob Holding was ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

According to ESPN FC's Mark Ogden, Bailly could be a tricky target as United would rather get rid of Marcos Rojo next month, but Cahill is set to be allowed to leave on loan. 

Holding, 23, was stretchered off in Arsenal's 2-2 draw with the Red Devils last week and may not return to action for nine months:

BBC Sport @BBCSport

It's a huge blow for Arsenal. Defender Rob Holding has been ruled out for up to nine months with a knee injury. More here: https://t.co/cpuTJ9iuPm https://t.co/pwRtDRPvkF

Both Bailly and Cahill have struggled for minutes this season.

Jose Mourinho has limited the Ivorian to just four Premier League starts for United.

Meanwhile, Englishman Cahill has been handed just 21 minutes of action in the English top flight by Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri.

Cahill's contract expires at the end of the season, and the 32-year-old would fit the bill for what Ogden reported Arsenal want: "An experienced centre-half to maintain necessary depth in their defensive options."

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Gary Cahill of Chelsea during the UEFA Europa League Group L match between Chelsea and PAOK at Stamford Bridge on November 29, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Bailly, on the other hand, would be more of a risk but could potentially pay huge dividends further down the line.

The 24-year-old has been out of the United team due to a combination of injuries and loss of form.

But when he first arrived at Old Trafford from Villarreal for £30 million in 2016, he was impressive.

And he showed his enduring quality when he turned out recently against the Gunners:

Sam Pilger @sampilger

Eric Bailly has given a brilliant and commanding performance, which makes his recent prolonged absence even more inexplicable #mufc

Arsenal's centre-back ranks are fragile, and though Laurent Koscielny is nearing a return to action following an Achilles injury, the Frenchman is now 33.

Cahill could provide decent cover for Holding until the end of the season. But if Arsenal want to bolster their defence long term, they should arguably push hard to sign Bailly.