Arsenal star Rob Holding admits he saw the club’s decision to sign defender Gabriel as a challenge.
Holding, 25, was given permission to leave the club last summer following Gabriel’s £22million arrival from Ligue 1 club Lille.
Newcastle United had been keen on signing Holding on loan but the former Bolton defender ended up staying at the Emirates to fight for his place with the Gunners.
That decision has proved a wise one, with Holding making 18 appearances in all competitions so far this term as he reestablished himself as a regular under Mikel Arteta.
Holding’s fine form was rewarded earlier this week when he signed a new long-term deal with the Gunners and the defender has admitted Gabriel’s signing helped him to ‘rise’ to the challenge.
‘With Gabriel coming in and being a centre-half with a price tag and obviously comparing my price tag from Bolton it’s not even comparable,’ said Holding.
‘But it’s just something where I thought he’s coming in, he’s 22, I’m three years his senior so he’s got to come in and be better than me.
‘If he comes in and he plays better than me than fair enough but I’m not just going to give it up to him just because he’s come in with a price tag that he’s going to play over me. The fact I was staying just made me think like that even more.’
Holding will be hoping to celebrate his new deal by starting against Crystal Palace at the Emirates tomorrow night.
The Gunners have won their last four matches in the Premier League, boosting their position in the table to 11th.
A win against the Eagles could take the Gunners as high as eighth.