Mohamed Elneny has been a peripheral figure at Arsenal and one that many have said isn’t good enough to be in the premiership. How do they know? He has never really held his place or had a consistent run of games for the gunners and it’s as if Arsene Wenger purchased him in 2016 with no idea how to utilise him.
Since then, he’s been in and out of the side, more often than not as a sub, powerless to halt his diminishing career in North London. Next up, was a loan to Besiktas last season with an option to buy, but a price couldn’t be agreed which sent him back to his parent club wondering what his next destination was.
Even Elneny couldn’t have expected Arteta’s next move, which was to include him in his side to face MK Dons. Then the script got even more bizarre with the Egyptian scoring a rocket of a goal from around 40 yards. If football was a drama, then Mohamed Elneny is currently its lead character, but now what?
As I said weeks ago, it may not be over for this durable 28-year-old, especially on the evidence of a solid performance against the Dons and although they’re not Real Madrid, he looked full of beans, incredibly fit, and showed ambition.
Yes, he’s no Thomas Partey and his long term future may remain elsewhere, but he could be very useful this season and I wouldn’t mind betting that Arsenal and Arteta reviewed his performances regularly whilst playing for Besiktas.
If Arsenal can’t get Amadou Diawara (Roma) and secure another loan for Ceballos, then Elneny becomes even more important to the Arsenal squad, which only has Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka in the defensive midfielder role. If they can’t get either, then I’m guessing that Torriera will be offloaded rather than Elneny, purely to generate the necessary cash flow.
Reviewing Elneny’s contribution against MK Don’s, he linked well between the middle and forward line, was available to spread the play, and showed genuine purpose. His distribution was good and his touch was first-rate, wasting little time in bringing the play forward.
I’d go as far as to say that this was his most assured and complete performance in a red and white shirt and that Arteta may be considering keeping a player that doesn’t grab the headlines but does his share of the work. It’s all very Arteta! Not every player needs to have his name on the paper.