Elneny is staying – So how have Arsenal improved the midfield?

At the beginning of this summer’s transfer window, Arsenal fans expected an influx of midfielders after Ceballos and Odegaard were returned to Real Madrid and Granit Xhaka was expected to join Roma, and Torreira and Elneny were also expected to be on the move.

We have been linked with numerous targets, including Buendia, Bissouma, Maddison, Aouar, Neves, amongst others, but with just ten days of the window remaining, we have signed the young Sambi Lokonga, brought back Odegaard and given Xhaka a new contract.

And now the Arsenal Insider Chris Wheatley has made it clear that Mo Elneny is also going to be in Arteta’s squad this season as well.

He tweeted yesterday….

So, wwith massive games coming up against Chelsea and Man City, we find ourselves in pretty much the same position as last season.

Odegaard will not have his visa ready by Sunday, Thomas Partey is injured as usual, and so we are left with Xhaka, Elneny and Lokonga for Arteta to choose from. Unless Arteta does a serious U-turn on Torreira, which is extremely unlikely!

Considering everyone thought that improving our midfield was our Number One priority this summer, this is a little bit disappointing…

Unless Arteta and Edu have a massive surprise up their sleeves in the coming days, I think our midfield is still going to sttruggle this season.

Darren N

Tags Albert Sambi Lokonga Elneny Xhaka


  1. Im still waiting till 31 August for a midfielder but it’s not looking good. We need creativity in midfield as we need more goals

    Getting a quality midfielder should have been at the top of our priority list from the beginning

  2. Respectively, our midfield is slightly stronger than the midfield as what made us 3rd on the form table, I don’t think it’s all bad. Sure maybe one more midfielder but a striker and RB has to be higher on the priority list.

    1. weve got to let go of these form tables and “best since january” stuff. Look where we finished after 38 games, and that is the level we are at. You get nothing for good form if you are awful majoirty of season. This is an 8th place team with a few additions that may not make an impact that is big enough.

  3. He’s a good DM and midfield is the least of our problems, so no need to worry about the midfield department

    Our main concern should be the CF department. Because none of them can keep the ball effectively, apart from Lacazette

    1. If Lacazette leaves (which worries me for the reason you outlined), Luka Jovic intrigues me. He was scoring for gun at Frankfurt but things haven’t worked out at RM. Fits the profile on terms of age and quoted fee (circa £20m) and would offer us something different.

      1. Yes, Luka Jovic would likely be available for loan. He didn’t perform well at Real Madrid and in his second spell at Frankfurt, but maybe a change of scene could improve his confidence

        He’s not a towering CF, but at least he’s taller than Lacazette. However, Xhaka might not like to work with a Serbian player

    2. Gai
      Yes Elneny is Ok but he is not a skillful DM he passes the ball sideways and has mistakes in him inside the box. Though he occasionally come up with good goals.
      Apart from T. Pathey we don’t have a thorough DM like Yves Bissuoma. Just watched the way that guy plays for Brighton this evening.

      We needed a CF yet we couldn’t pull through with Tammy Abraham.

      Let’s see what will happen last days of Window.

  4. Let’s face it, MA is stuck with a massive squad because they are simply not attractive to any one else. Kind of highlights the scale of how badly we have bought over the years. Now we are stuck with under performing players which is having a massive effect on who we can buy!

    1. Exactly people have seen these players over the last 5 years and like us Arsenal fans have not been that impressed. Elneny does a job, he’s committed and he’s happy to wait for a chance to play. But we have to face reality, at the moment we have to target younger talents at a cheaper price. I would love to have signed Bissouma too but we have to think of AFCON. We lose Auba, Elneny, Pepe and Partey, can we afford to lose Bissouma too.

    2. But why is it that every player that plays under arteta can’t attract suitors, remember when elneny came back from Turkey last season, we have like 3 clubs who wanted to sign him permanently but the coach wanted him to stay because of squad depth, now all of a sudden no club want him again. The same would have happened to wilcok if he didn’t go to Newcastle on loan. Maybe the coach is the problem.

        1. Yeah. 100% right.
          I remember his words when we signed Willian.
          Champions League trophy within three seasons. We’ve just completed phase 1 in the 20/21 season – Getting KICKED OUT OF EUROPE altogether. Phase 2 & 3 in the next two seasons. In two more seasons, we all will be celebrating Arsenal lifting the Champions League trophy under Arteta. COYG!!! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

          Or was it the Championship trophy?
          Phase 2 – 21/22 Getting relegated.
          Phase 3 – 22/23 Winning the Championship.
          Sounds reasonable to me.

      1. Because the answer is simple. Players deteriorate under Arteta. Players like Partey, Auba, Willian, Elneny, Pepe etc. It is very different from Wenger where he bought average players and coach them to become world class.

  5. One of the side attractions for investing so much money on White is, presumably, his ability to fill in at DM. So on that score you’d feel there’s some improvement in that department
    Also, from the little we’ve seen of Lokonga so far, he looks a potential upgrade on Ceballos
    So yes, not a massive improvement, but me thinks there is some
    And like gotanidea noted our more critical failing last season was in scoring the goals. And it’s already showing again this
    So let’s hope that this weakness would be addressed in the next 10 days especially seeing we’d be without Aubameyang for some 6 weeks next year

  6. If things started going south which I pray not for, I hope no fan will start blaming AW for our predicament or Stan for lack of support. Arteta has and is getting everything (over £300m worth of players has been given to him in loan and outright purchase)he wanted so no excuse not to succeed.

    1. Im still holding my judgment on White. Apart from him, this is almost the same squad we had last season. Wont be a surprise if we are struggling for goals this season. We have finished the last 2 seasons with about 15 less league goals as compared to our previous 10 seasons. AW’s problem? I dont think so.

      1. After watching last season, Not having Dani Ceballos in the squad alone is worth mentioning a massive improvement, IMO. 🤣🤣🤣

  7. Is the squad better than last August?
    Well not if you expect
    Allison TAA VVD Varane Robertson
    Pogba Fabinho
    De Bruyne Bruno Son and Lukaku,
    But compared to Arsenal last August there have been many improvements.
    Not stellar superstars but a definite level up..
    Ramsdale is better than Runarrson.
    White is better than Holding Mari +Luiz.
    Tavarez is better than Kolasinac.
    Partey is better than Torreira
    Lokonga is better than Elneny
    Odegaard better than Ceballos.
    Saka and ESR have evolved.
    Pepe and Martinelli are slowly getting better.
    I’d give a 7/10 so far for our transfer dealings.
    If we trade Bellerin for a new RB and get a new striker by trading out Lacca or Auba
    I would give a 9/10.

    1. @fairfan, not a bad way of looking at the picture. The issue is, can Arteta get the best out of these players collectively? Can he get them playing as a cohesive unit quickly enough, before too many losses dampens their morale and confidence? Only time will tell.

      1. Yes he can.
        May be we wont beat both Chelsea and City but after that we should start winning regularly.
        19 games up to Boxing Day.
        12 wins 4 draws 3 losses = 40 points

        1. We could not beat a newly promoted side. We should stop kidding ourselves.
          Maybe the answer is a change of manager.
          I doubt if Arteta knows what he is doing

  8. He should be sold.

    – free agent next summer
    – 29 years old
    – 5 years here without significant impact
    – gone for AFCON
    – takes up a non-HG spot

    I think he’s easily replaceable and even Torreira can do his job. I see no reason to have Elneny in the squad financially speaking or otherwise.

    1. But Elneny is loyal to Arteta. Unlike Guendouzi or Torreira. Ofc MA will prefer him to the other two.

  9. To answer the question in the headline:
    By bringing in the impressive Lokonga and to a lesser extent, Ødegaard. I’m sure that Tavares could do a very good job in left midfield but we are still missing a true attacking midfielder.

  10. The midfield is a critical issue, and not just as a link between defence and attack. Every successful club in this country has midfielders who contribute quite heavily to the goals total. It’s no surprise that Arsenal’s pathetic lack of goals the last two seasons coincides with a dearth of goals from midfield.
    The team’s total goals from midfield for the last 10 seasons are as follows:

    2011/12 – 15
    2012/13 – 22
    2013/14 – 30
    2014/15 – 23
    2015/16 – 12
    2016/17 – 15
    2017/18 – 15
    2018/19 – 22
    2019/20 – 4
    2020/21 – 10

    Last season’s total of 10 includes 5 goals from Saka, who was listed as a midfielder but played in a range of different positions, so you might argue that the total should be less than 10.
    By comparison, in 2019/20, Arsenal’s goal total from midfield was 4 while Manchester City’s was 35.
    Unless any of the club’s current midfielders develop into prolific goal scorers, this problem is not going to go away.

      1. Arsenal’s league records will show you clearly why Arteta is problematic. *Note the last 2 seasons are Arteta.
        Season – Goal Scored – Goal Conceded
        06/07 – 63 – 35
        07/08 – 74 – 31
        08/09 – 68 – 37
        09/10 – 83 – 41
        10/11 – 72 – 43
        11/12 – 74 – 49
        12/13 – 72 – 37
        13/14 – 68 – 41
        14/15 – 71 – 36
        15/16 – 65 – 36
        16/17 – 77 – 44
        17/18 – 74 – 51
        18/19 – 73 – 51
        19/20 – 56 – 48
        20/21 – 55 – 39

      2. I could not find where steve got his source, but it is not surprising given our overall lack of goals.

        People keep blaming AW for the current state of the team, but even at his worst, when he made my blood boils with the team’s lack of consistency, when fans booed him for sticking with underperforming players, when he kept using the “toothless” giroud/walcott and refuse to buy clinical strikers, when he was shouted at for being tactically inflexible, even after all that, in 20 years at Arsenal, he, Arsene Wenger, has never made the team scored so few number of goals as our wonderful Mikel Arteta. By 15-20 goals.

        Trust the process? Yea right. Odegaard and White will score 30 goals this season.

  11. Elnerny, Maitland-Niles, Nelson, Aubameyang, Lacazette, and Bellerin were better under the management of Wenger. Since the arrival of Arteta, their performances have dipped

    1. Elneny is pretty much the same
      Maitland-Niles best performances have come under Arteta
      Aubamyeng and Laca looked better under Wenger because of his gung-ho tactics, that was actually detrimental overall to the team
      Bellerin has always been terrible at defending, but better attacking under Wenger

      1. And if I’m not mistaken, Nelson played in 3 PL games under Wenger and a handful of cup games. He’s always been an exciting prospect but for whatever reason hasn’t kicked on under any Arsenal manager

      2. Wenger’s “gung ho” approach gets us more goals up front. And we played better and with more fluidity.

        Sure, we conceded less stupid goals under MA. But at what cost? We become toothless up front. Many say it is because we dont have a proper no 10. Sure, thats one factor. But to me the root of the problem is tactical. Our midfielders used to have many passing options in the final third. Our flanks were very active, fullbacks and midfielders bombarding the final third. Wilshere’s Norwich goal was only possible because we were swarming the final third and confusing the defence. Now the priority is defence. We are rarely caught in counter attack but we have no energy and often look clueless upfront. Games became boring. Individual skills become more important under Arteta. We depend on tricky players like Saka to shake the opponents defence.

        That was never the case under AW. We could even get by with some 2nd rate players (for better or worse) in the team because we are playing a simple touch and pass game. Most of our players were technical but often lack the ability to press. They used to free roam and play with less discipline. The type of players who will be kicked out by MA. Willock out, AMN sidelined, Martinelli sidelined, Chambers preferred over Bellerin, Guendouzi/Torreira out, if we had Cazorla he would probably be benched too. We play with rigid midfielders now. Xhaka, Partey, Ode over Aouar. ESR is an exception but he will be benched with Ode in the team.

        Trust the process they say. An expensive process. We are definitely heading in a new direction. But a better one? Im not so sure. We would probably never see the Arsenal we have been watching for 20 over years again.

  12. To answer the questions on the article we cannot judge this season’s team by Mere looking at them, the only way to judge the team is by the results. fortunately, the first match of the season was not encouraging although there are genuine excuses to how the team lost, missing 4 first team players in a team is bad way to start. secondly, we can’t blame Mikel Arteta for club not to coming to buy Elneny and we cannot blame Mikel Arteta because Arsenal need to sell before signing players. I won’t say anything now until the end of the season because I believe her arsenal still need to improve the team going by last season and this season there’s no much improvement in the team.

  13. After the addition of ASL and Odegaard, our midfield is definitely improved from last season. ASL’s early outings in an Arsenal shirt looks very promising. But, the worrying things is, will he gets enough starts to help his development once Partey returns to full fitness. Will he be able to keeps his place for the next match based on his performances in the previous match or will he benched to accommodate a senior player like Partey or Xhaka, even if he has earned a spot in the starting XI.

    Odegaard displayed one thing that’s missing from all our squad members. He actively tried to organize the team on the pitch in real time. I’ve never seen any player in Arsenal colors display that trait in the past few seasons. Whenever he was on the pitch, he was constantly instructing the players around him. Even the seasoned players like Partey and Xhaka never displayed his level of understanding and intelligence. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets the captain’s armband in the near future.

    1. Great point on Odegaard’s presence on the pitch. Hopefully it will mean Arteta can stop barking out orders (one of my pet peeves)

      1. Regarding MA barking orders, the things I’ve heard that was caught by the microphones on the sidelines were these – “Auba! Auba!” or “David! David!” or “Dani! Dani!”. I don’t know if there are any specific instructions in them.

        Or, maybe MA was inspired by the movie “Coach Carter” where Samuel Jackson had a code word for each of the team tactics to be played out when he shouts a name. “Delilah! Delilah!” 😝😝😝😝😝

        1. In away grounds, there are only a handful of Librarians who can keep the home crowd silent like Tuchel and unfortunately, his next visit is to the Emirates. 😉

  14. Cannot get rid of everyone that isn’t good enough for the first XI. All clubs actually need squad players, and Elneny is a decent one.

  15. I am SHOCKED. We are going to give Elneny a contract instead of signing Houssem Aouar for 20 mill. The whole thought process of EDU is bizarre. To give Elneny a contract to raise his value, when a 50 mill quality player is available under half his original price…..is BIZARRE. No wonder we cannot challenge for sweet FA. I envisage our central midfield being Xhaka and Elneny. What the F? We should snap up Aouar immediately….before the Spuds do. C’mon Arsenal…. proactive please….for bloody once. EDU wake up mate!

      1. Admin Pat
        I am sure Aouar will elevate our midfield more than Elneny, as you clearly know. We always get sooooo close…..always a top quality player or two short. I hope we sign Aouar as he could change the dynamic of our sideways football.

    1. I have mentioned Aouar on this platform
      countless times. Arteta not prioritising this this only shows he has no intention of playing attractive football.
      Elneny and Xhaka were part of a midfield that finished 8th on 2 consecutive seasons.

      How many goals would Xhaka and Elneny score this season?

      We should have sold both of them and kept Torrera.


      Arteta is clueless. His handling of Ozil and Martinelli last season shows he has no clue.

      This job is bigger than him. The earlier we show him the exit door the better. He should go back to la liga to learn one or two things about management.

      If we want to win the EPL(Top 4 is not good enough for a club as big as arsenal), we need to sack Arteta.

      Football is about what u achieve now. We have to raise the bar.

      1. How many goals does Lucas have for Arsenal? Have you bothered to check, since you all are so about the goals scored by the midfielder?

  16. It’s unfortunate we had injuries the first match, no other Arsenal manager had to face such difficulties.

    Also a shame Emery got all the players he wanted while Arteta has no voice in transfers.

    2 previous managers never faced the pressures of PL table results and finishing places like Arteta has to deal with.

    I hope the board will blindly support Arteta and not hold him accountable for 2 8th place finishes and getting kicked out of European football; first time in 2 decades.

    2 previous mangers were so much worse and never achieved anything, they had top top players and Arteta only inherited deadwood.

    Why bother with exciting, creative, attacking football when Arteta ball is so much better?

    THE PROCESS IS AWESOME, 20 years of CL football, scoring goals and highlight goals every week.

    3rd year is CL trophy like Arteta and Willian said, the world is ours, the process is perfect.

    1. ‘Emery got all the players he wanted ‘…are you sure. He wanted Zaha but the board went for Pepe instead.

      1. Taking the piss Marty. It’s what all Arteta heads spout out in order to defend the so called process. (Sic).

  17. Our midfield, even with OIdegaard and ESRre far fromgood enough ! We still have poor players like Xhaka, Elneny, AMN and Torreira here and none are good enough, not remotely.

    Counting Saka as an attacker, we badly need midfield creative quality and GOALS from midfield We have failed to move out the deadwood mountain this summer and though I do not blame MA responsible for that and the Covid caused world financial crash, it remains sadly true.

    I understand why we needed to sell Willock for THAT FEE we got but he is far better than all the deadwood we have been forced to keep.
    Anyone who truly expects us to make top four with this squad, compared to our main rivals squads, is not thinking rartionally, I am afraid to have to say.



    1. Hard to disagree Jon. A win last week would have softened the inevitable slide coming, but that game is in the past.

      Personally I’m just looking for improvement in play; have some teeth and show some urgency.

      Losses happen, but whether we lose a fight or get played off the pitch is what we should be considering.

      This lot desperately need leadership on the pitch and some tactical brilliance or I fear things may track like last Fall, leading to December.

      We can’t afford to dig another hole like that and keep any confidence and passion.

    2. This is really worrying. Zero points from 3 games. Hmmm.
      I feel Torrera can be integrated into the team.
      In his first season, he was combative and tidy. He also reads the game well.
      I look forward to a midfield pairing of Thomas Partey and Torrera.

      Torrera sits back and wins balls.
      I wish Arteta should give Torrera another chance and sell Elneny.

      Lokonga, Aouar, Torrera, Partey and Xhaka(5 players for 2 slots)

  18. Having Elneny in the midfield rotation is fine.
    He isn’t a player to move is upwards in the league but merely a squad player whose attitude and efforts can’t be faulted.
    Extending his contract is just the club protecting their investment as he isn’t on expensive wages and any few millions a Turkish club could send our way at some point is always good to take (as he has a decent reputation on the African continent).

    Lokonga looks good so far, Xhaka was our best midfielder last season and had a strong Euros so it’s good we didn’t let him go for peanuts. Odegaard was priced at 50+ million at the end of last season and is already integrated in the team so signing him for 35m is excellent.
    I’d STILL hope for an extra central midfielder that would be at least of Xhaka’s level as Granit ideally should be our #2 pairing for Partey when he’s fit.
    This said, if we were to only get one more player, then a RB improvement would be the one vital area for us, with Bellerin hopefully finding a taker somewhere.

    1. “eeeeeeee”? Even for you TMJW, that is a mysterious post! Anyone know what he means ? No, me neither!

      1. Clearly an acronym:
        elneny ends every earthly expectation (of) ever effin eoff

        The man’s a short-form poet

      2. Dear Mr jon fox,

        Find a quiet corner at your home. Put on some soothing music. Stretch yourself comfortably in your favourite sofa. Close your eyes.

        Just imagine a picture in your head, of Xhaka and Kagame laughing and posing together in Arsenal colors at a tour of Rwanda. Write the first thing that comes to your mind that doesn’t break the JA community rules.

        I bet, it won’t be much different from what TMJW posted above.🤣🤣🤣

  19. Put white in parteys place with lokunga and Tavares … Holding at back as better in air … Smith Rowe ahead of midfield as creator (or Martinelli but both have limits) saka and aube as front men .. No idea other than arteta’s limited view of football why xhaka and elneny are still on books

  20. Bissouma is looking pretty mercurial today. Suspect his price (if Arsenal were ever seriously interested) will be going up by another few million

    1. That is the reason why we need Yves Bissouma, he is a box to box Midfielder who can cover many roles. Nt sure why we cant get him?

  21. No we have failed badly to improve our midfield. While Xhaka and Elnenny are able to be in the team we are limited and weaker than all of our opponents above us. We missed a great opportunity with the funds we have spent to have sorted our weaknesses and haven’t.

  22. Better Arteta keep Torierra and get rid of Elneny.
    Elneny is not interested in leaving because he’s comfortable sitting on the bench and collecting weekly wages instead of moving on and playing regularly.

  23. Elneny for me has only ever been adequate. He does a job, but never anything exciting. He’s just another player we don’t need, but who we cannot ship out.

  24. Elneni didn’t do badly deputising for injured Party last season. He also contributed massively to our last FA cup success. I think Elneni is highly under-rated.

  25. I think he was kept as a substitution for the long season. If MA is smart enough he will use them along with our youngsters and fight for all the titles this season, we are eager for the win and we want everything!

    However, our main problem is lacking creativity in the midfield and with Odegard being here “again”, I hope he can help ESR with this matter. Yet, the main problem is our coach formation and use of the players, with Pepe and Saka on sides and Ode/ESR behind the CF, this requires a lot of work between our 4 players to bring something to the “Finisher” in front of them.

    I hope we can do something tomorrow and not only aiming to stop Lukaku or whoever the striker! Unfortunately, I’m not expecting anything from MA at this stage and I still believe he should leave!

  26. Did you see bissoma’s through ball for maupay’ s goal? That’s a true box to box midfielder with energy to burn . We need a midfield that is quick in transition from defence to attack but sadly, arsenal has a midfield transition that’s slower than a snail. Xhaka and elneny slows the transition so frustratingly most times then I begin to think to my self, how can arteta , coming from an over attacking mancity, allow such sloooowww attacking play here? It beggers belief.

    1. So rather than sign a Midfield Controller Arteta is waiting to watch how the team play against Chelsea. Re-active rather than pro-active. It’s shameful that Aouar is available for 20mill, exactly the type of player we need…yes exactly. Guess what, it’s gonna be a balls up. Even if we win, and the chance of that is remote in we will definitely need a central kingpin midfielder….Aouar. Shambolic ‘after the horse has bolted’, patch up, is the Edu/Arteta style. Aouar could have PLAYED against Chelsea. Xhaka and Elneny must strike fear into Tuchel. Just their names make me tremble….with anxiety. Xhaka/Elneny will create fear in all Premier League sides……..especially Arsenal supporters. They are our ‘losing formula’. Incompetence of highest level.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs