Mohamed Elneny: An Arsenal squad player or an asset to be sold?

The day is November 1st, 2020. Arsenal are leading 0-1 at the 91st minute against age-old rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford. The majority of the players of the away side are sitting in a low block.

But suddenly an Arsenal player gets out of the pack and chases United’s Victor Lindelöf after a throw-in. As a result, the Swede is forced to move towards his own goal. He then passes the ball to the team’s left-back Luke Shaw.

The Englishman tries to surge forward, closer to Arsenal’s 12-yard area, but his pathway is blocked. Subsequently, Shaw passes the ball back to Lindelöf, who tries to beat his man. But the ball goes out of play for the opposition’s throw-in.

The player who was involved in all those instances is none other than Arsenal’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny. Despite playing the whole 90 minutes, he was the one spearheading any pressure at the Theater of Dreams.

When the Arsenal players looked jaded, he looked rejuvenated. When they looked for inspiration, he provided it on a platter.

This was just one of many cases in the Egyptian’s “second part” of his Arsenal career.

After the midfielder was loaned out to Turkish side Besiktas in 2019, many believed that a parting of ways was more of a case of “when” not “if.”

Being frozen out by the Gunners’ previous head coach Unai Emery, Elneny’s renaissance under Mikel Arteta was even more admirable after being indirectly told that he was not good enough.

So why did Arsenal keep Elneny last summer? And does he have a future at the Emirates Stadium?

The answer to that can be perfectly summed up by Arteta, “What Mo(hamed Elneny) transmits through the team is special.”

“He has this energy as a person, he goes in a room and he creates an atmosphere.”

The former FC Basel man can often be seen in training photos and videos, having fun with his teammates. Even the people who do not occasionally watch the videos that the club post on their social media handles, they can unanimously agree on the spot that this is a guy who is extremely popular in the dressing room.

Although some might argue that he not at Arsenal’s level, people like him in the squad are invaluable. The Egyptian sets a good example by giving it his all on matchday as well as in every single training session.

When the 28-year-old was shipped out to Turkey in Emery’s second season in-charge, legendary former manager Arsene Wenger said, “First and foremost, Elneny is a modern day midfielder.

“He will work hard for the team. He has a great technique. His physical attributes are also very important.

“His passes are also very direct and will help the team in attacking areas.”

Elneny is a player who leaves it all on the pitch.

With Arsenal keeping tabs on several defensive midfielders in the market, being on the teamsheet every single week does not seem viable for the Egyptian.

However, keeping him around and using him as a squad player can only benefit this lackluster Arsenal squad.

After all, everybody can be certain of one thing from Elneny, that he is going to give every ounce of his energy, from the very start till the full-time whistle.

Yash Bisht

Tags Elneny

44 Comments

  1. Jasa says:

    True, i will keep him hands down. love his spirit and passion to drive.

    1. Goonerbeall says:

      He can be kept if we don’t get anyone.else on top of Saliba and another DM. We’ve lowered our ambitions and appear “to make do” with certain players. Elneny, mairland Niles and Xhacka are players that come to mind when we talk about make do players. Let’s bring players who are competitive not those who are there because we failed to find a deserving player.

    2. Ken says:

      Elneny id underated by coach that he is cool but to me I always rate him high than Thomas and xhaka.He did as proud in champions league away at Baca by even scoring a goal.U dont know why he is hated but to me he will flourish everywhere he goes

      1. R says:

        Ken what are you talking about man? Elneny has no vision for attacking continuation of any situation whatsoever. He is always slowing the game down and passing safely to the side or to the back. With that being said his workrate is great and his passion too, but my point is this alone does not make him a great player, but rather compensates for the lack of vision.

        I think we should keep him though as he showed good progress and consistency. He also had a few good longshots.

  2. Twig says:

    Lacazette
    Saka Buendia Pepe
    Partey Xhaka
    Tierney Gabriel Holding Chambers
    Szczesny

    Will you be pleased with this lineup for next season? Who will you drop from the above?

    1. Dan kit says:

      Personally I would drop
      Laca
      Buendia
      Xhaka
      Holding
      Chambers
      Szczesny

      1. Twig says:

        And replace them with who? I see Holding playing a big part in our defence next season and Chambers seems to be first choice RB now.

        1. Dan kit says:

          Martinelli -laca
          Hazard- Buendia
          Leno-Szczesny
          New CB -Holding
          New RB-chambers
          Doucoure-Xhaka

    2. Quantic Dream says:

      Szczesny

    3. Vinnie2000 says:

      So Sczceny should take d place of Bernd Leno???
      A Big No!! Leno is our Number 1.

      Also, you want Xhaka to stay in dis club?? D Immobile, left-footed, temperamental, poor-tackler midfielder??😒😒

      1. Vinnie2000 says:

        @Twig!!
        Dis reply is for you!!

        1. Twig says:

          Yes, Vinny. I want Xhaka at Arsenal. He’s a top top player.

    4. Declan says:

      Buendia out, Smith-Rowe in.

    5. Yash Bisht says:

      I have not been impressed with Pepe on the right. Give as much stick to me, but the guy has to become more unpredictable.
      Bringing back Szczesny won’t make much sense while Holding should be seen as a squad player.

  3. Twig says:

    @Elneny

    He could still do a job. He improved a lot towards the latter part of the season. However, he’s also at a point where we could get some good crash from him and invest heavily in a new and younger midfielder.

  4. gotanidea says:

    He’s a highly underrated player like Monreal. Unfortunately, he will be 29 years old soon, is not a homegrown and has no special skills, apart from his accurate long shots

    The problems are we’ve got too many similar deep-lying midfielders waiting in U-23 and Chambers/ Maitland-Niles/ Willock/ Guendouzi can also do his job. So we should try to sell him in the summer, along with Torreira

  5. Quantic Dream says:

    Moh El Neny is a hardworker..keep!

  6. Vinnie2000 says:

    Mohammed Elneny MUST be kept in dis team!!
    Strong, aggressive n has a positive look about him, unlike Auba’s defeatist look in games!!
    He’s a good midfielder n should stay. As a backup for Thomas Partey.

  7. Grandad says:

    A very hard working water carrier, who occasionally produces something out of the ordinary.Arteta knows he can rely on him for back up, but with no European games next season, I would be inclined to sell him to pave the way for the likes of Willock and Azeez.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      Grandad, I agree with your assessment; Mo Elneny has always been a solid squad player, who has always given his best for the Club, when called upon. He has been underrated by many; however I see him more as a backup/competitor for Xhaka, rather than hindering the progress of Willock or Azeez, who are more attacking midfielders.

  8. Ximplicity says:

    I’m glad fans started appreciating Mo now. He should be kept as a squad player. He is a hard worker and his efforts went unnoticed mostly in every game he played but he gives his all for the team, though some might argue he isn’t Arsenal level. The truth is that no matter how good and wonderful a youthful teams are, they needed some guidance and experience in the team especially at some stage(s) in the season and that’s where players like Mo comes in. I have a feeling Arsenal may sell him in order to get more funds to build the squad if Xhaka remains in the team., anyway, it’s my opinion though

  9. Sue says:

    Mo just gets on with it, no strops, no demands, loves the club, gives everything for the badge… if only we had 11 with his attitude, we’d be alright!! This is what I love about him..
    Can’t see him being sold.

    1. ahmad73 says:

      Well said Sue. Mo gets about his job without fuss. He is a squad player and he is a decent one.

    2. Declan says:

      Very well put Sue and I agree.

    3. Ken says:

      All goes to Arteta decisions, but he should take care else players will revolt just like chelsea players did to Lampard and he will be nowhere.All Arsenal players are excellent but they feel underated and end up playing not near to there best,imagine if chelsea game was a championship final ,the cup will be already in the cabinet

    4. ozziegunner says:

      👍 Hit the nail on the head Sue, about others lacking Elneny s attitude.

    5. Val says:

      Totally agree Sue

      Some here say he wont get into a top 4 team, he’s not as good as X, Y, Z player blah blah

      But what many forget is that you need players that compliment each other and what you as a coach are trying to achieve.

      I would keep Elneny 100%

      1. Sue says:

        Spot on, Val 👍

  10. OTS says:

    If Arsenal sell Elneny I might stop being an Arsenal fan. Elneny exudes great energy on the field of play always, his unrelentless effort on the field can’t be overlooked. But I just feel he is one of those unrated midfielders, alongside lacazette in the premier league.

    1. RSH says:

      neither laca or elneny get close to any of the teams in teh top 4. Giroud would still get playing time over lacazette.

  11. Havyn says:

    Elneny not good enough. Has no further growth. He rarely passes forward and Willock can play his role.

    No new contract please, sell him to a Turkish club

    1. Ken says:

      Can Willock really defend ?lets understand football,accept the two plays different roles.willock plays a Ramsey ,Elneny can play im mid,box to box or defence so he is a utility player

  12. Sean Williams says:

    If we just want a solid squad keep him, if we want to challenge for trophies sell him

  13. Prof.Wenger says:

    Keep him, he did everything he can to be kept and he showed his passion for Arsenal not like some other players, keep him for whatever cups/titles we are planning to fight for the next season, we need a leader in the Mid, keep him when we need a substitute, he showed that he is always ready.

  14. jon fox says:

    The personal , as opposed to football , qualities thatElneny has are those that all players should be expected to have all thrtime. A firece fighting spirit, a will to win a desire to close down and harry opponents.

    Elnenys tragedy -and ours as a club too- is that he has all these in droves BUT lacks the special skill set that all players at our level MUST have , if they are to wear our shirt.

    I much like Elneny the man. But Elneny the player is lacking much that any top player needs. I would sell him for whatever he will fetch and do it this summer.
    Successful teams are not built on sentiment to a fine man but on top level players who ALSO have great desire. This last comment(desire) rules out Auba too IMO.

    1. RSH says:

      well said Jon. Hes a nice guy, but as a footballer, theres not much to talk about. People want change but want to stick with Elneny? Make that make sense.

  15. Mac says:

    Every team needs a squad , why wouldn’t you want to have a player like him with a magnificent attitude who always gives 💯%

    Always had a good game this season , plenty of others who have underperformed ..

    1. jon fox says:

      Easy answer Mac, to a rather daft question. The obvious answer is that all top clubs need an entire squad of players all far better than Elneny. Of course, if you do not accept that he is a poor player, even though he is a real tryer and good person, then we will never find an accord.

      YOU ARE RIGHT TO SAY WE NEED A SQUAD. BUT I WOULD ADD THAT ANY TOP CLUBS SQUAD NEEDS FAR MORE ABILITY THEN ELNENY HAS.

  16. Ken says:

    Not sczceny unless u want ManU to thrash us 8 -2 again,im yet to heal!

  17. Ken says:

    We could be in europa if Arteta fielded Elneny in semi final, as this guy comes up with something special whenever strikers have failed,he is similar to Edu during invincible era

  18. Ken says:

    Elneny is underated by coach that he is cool but to me I always rate him high than Thomas and xhaka.He did as proud in champions league away at Baca by even scoring a goal.U dont know why he is hated but to me he will flourish everywhere he goes

  19. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

    Least of our concerns…that said, I would keep him over Xhaka, as his attitude and work-rate are stellar and at least he would be accepting of playing a prescribed role, no matter how limited, whereas this would clearly not sit well with the uniquely entitled and underwhelming Xhaka…until Xhaka is given his justifiable walking papers, his presence will enable our novice manager to continually deploy the negative tactics we witnessed for the better part of this past season…simply time to move on

  20. RSH says:

    please sell this man. zero vision, nothing significant about him as a player. why not give his squad rotation spot to a youngster? Azeez should be getting some playing time next season. id hate to see it given to a player as dead-end as elneny. people wanna move forward while sticking with the same squad and i dont get it.

  21. Jax says:

    I don’t know why it’s ever been an issue. Elneny is a great squad player who can start games or come on as sub and always puts in a performance, is not on stratospheric pay, never complains, yet he gets such unfair criticism on Arsenal blogs. I think this season has been his best and if you don’t like the direction of some of his passes blame his team mates for not taking up position.
    And what great hair!!

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