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Marseille Plan A Surprise Swoop For Arsenal Midfielder

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With the transfer window closed down for the English clubs, one would not expect Arsenal to be among the headlines for transfers any more. The North London club completed their transfers way back before the deadline day, thus not rushing to sign players on the last day. But Mohamed Elneny could be on the move to Marseille.

With incoming of many high profile transfers, such as goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen, defenders Stephan Lichtsteiner and Sokratis Papasthopoulos from Juventus and Borussia Dortmund respectively, midfielders Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria and Matteo Guendouzi from Lorient, one would expect the Gunners to bid adieu to a number of players from their squad, especially defenders, and thus, balancing their transfer spending this summer.

However, that didn’t quite happen as the Arsenal fans would expect. Some of the notable transfer outs were Jack Wilshere (free transfer) and Lucas Perez to fellow London club West Ham United, Santi Cazorla (free transfer) to his boyhood club Villarreal, and Calum Chambers on a season-long loan to newly promoted Fulham.

Nevertheless, it seems that French club Olympique Marseille are willing to put in some cash into Arsenal for the transfer of a young, and promising Gunner.

According to the Daily Mirror, the Marseille feel they can capitalise on Mohamed Elneny’s uncertain situation at the Premier League club and thus, table an offer for the 26-year-old midfielder.

This would come as a surprise to the Arsenal fans, since earlier this year, Elneny admitted he had the chance to leave Arsenal, but refused to do so, stating his will to succeed at the club at all cost. He recently signed a four-year contract extension with the Emirates outfit in March.

He said at that time:

“There were some clubs interested in me because I was not playing enough games and maybe they thought they could sign me or even have me on loan.

“I heard about this in the news just like everyone else and I was not interested at all. I spoke with the people here at the club and I told them, ‘I don’t want to leave. I want to fight for my position.’

“I trust myself, I have a dream to pursue and I am not going to give up on it. I dream big and this is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I want to stay. The club welcomed my decision to stay and that was the end of it.

“People were saying, ‘You aren’t playing enough games, maybe you should leave or go on loan somewhere’ but I wanted to prove myself.

“I played the first game of the season in the Community Shield and I proved I can play for Arsenal and will continue to fight for my position.”

Elneny has become a reliable player for Arsenal since he came to the London club in January 2016, from FC Basel. He can play both the role of a defensive midfielder, as well as the role of a central midfielder, specifically as the number 6, creating passes for attacks from deep midfield.

On the other hand, in the two years with Arsenal, he has mostly appeared from the bench, stabilising the Arsenal midfield for the crunch last minutes, before the full-time whistle. Last season he appeared 13 times in the league matches for the Gunners, starting 11 matches. Elneny has also been vital figure in the Egyptian national term, starting all three matches for Egypt at the World Cup this year at Russia.

In my opinion, it would be a mistake to offload Mohamed Elneny to Marseille, that too when the English transfer window is closed. He is a developing central midfielder, who can solve the various issues of the Arsenal midfield. With Guendouzi arriving at the club, the competition for the final midfield position between the two, alongside Xhaka, Ramsey, Ozil and Mkhitaryan, could enhance the growth of Elneny into a world class midfielder.

In the end, the reliable midfielder may feel as if a move to Marseille could be beneficial as the competition in midfield is too tight in North London. Though Marseille may not guarantee a starting position, he will definitely get more playing time in France.

Abir Chaudhuri
A football fan who loves to write about the game.

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