Arsenal’s winter transfer at the start of this year Mohamed Elneny came to the club when the squad was in desperate need for some defensive midfield cover. After spending 3 years and a half in FC Basel and winning the Swiss Super League in each of his campaigns, Elneny was a player who acquired a reputation of being one of the most honest, likeable and hardworking players on the pitch. The Egyptian was hailed by his manager and supporters during his time in Switzerland and he duly impressed whenever he was called upon.
When Arsenal signed Elneny, it was something of a surprise. Elneny was not a very recognisable name but Arsene Wenger saw the potential in the player as he always does. It was also a huge challenge for the player to adapt to the requirements of what is a far superior and physically demanding league.
With his early displays, the 24-year old has been able to calm the nerves of the fans and has had an impact on the team. At the time when we missed our key midfielders, Elneny was able to provide some much needed cover in the middle and gave us a glimpse of his attributes and versatility.
Since his transfer, Elneny has made 19 appearances for the club and has been used mainly as a sub. The Egyptian has the quality to perform on the big occasions as he displayed with his brilliant display against Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 clash last season at Camp Nou where he also scored a great goal. Elneny is a player who is excellent in his passing. The midfielder rarely gives away possession and is very good in keeping things flowing with a barrage of quick passes with his teammates.
In the deep positions during the buildups, he has the ability to create spaces with his passing and movement but he is not the quintessential tackler the position of defensive midfield warrants. Elneny can play in the defensive midfield but he needs a partner who will be adept at tackling. The Egyptian is excellent in covering and will be the first to get to the loose balls which the team wins in the midfield but he is not suited to win it back with his tackling.
Arsene Wenger, lauds the versatility and stamina of the player proclaiming that he is world class. There’s no doubt that Elneny can be world class but there’s a lot of room for improvement. It would depend on how his manager sees him in the future, in what position he is asked to fill in that is. At the moment, Elneny is an excellent cover who is glad to bide his time and improve his game. He gives the team stability and great flexibility.
With the Premier League getting tougher and more competitive, the 24-year old will get his fair share of games throughout the season but will have to improve his game to be established as the first choice considering the personnel available at the Emirates.
Elneny could be a better option than other for specific games. He will play in those types of games from the start and also a lot in the cup competitions. Overall, this is a significant phase in the player’s career who has the opportunity to learn and improve a lot and will certainly be a player crucial for the squad in the future. With his attitude and honesty though, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have a player of a quality rarely found in the modern world.
Arka Tarun Mukherjee
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