Mohamed Elneny has signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal, as confirmed by the club on Monday.
The Egyptian midfielder is seen as an effective squad player who can contribute in a starting role when required and, at the age of 25, there is scope for him to improve further. His best years are in front of him and he will be playing them at the Emirates Stadium.
It may not be seen as the most impactful new contract at the club, but it is crucial to maintain a good squad and Elneny is a reliable player in the middle of the park.
Given the uncertainty regarding the future direction of Arsenal, there will be an opportunity for him to become a member of the first-team, especially if a new manager is appointed during the summer.
It is unlikely that Arsene Wenger is making all decisions on recruitment and contracts, which suggests that it is people within the Board Room that wanted to keep the former Basel player around.
This season hasn’t been as great for Elneny as he would have hoped. In fact, he has had more playing time in the Europa League than the Premier League.
This marks him very much as a squad player at the club. However, there have been flashes of his ability and an average pass completion of 93.7% across both competitions is impressive.
A quick look at his stats in the Europa League show the player that he can be in the middle of the park. Elneny averages 1.02 chances created and 2.3 ball recoveries per ninety minutes.
They aren’t incredible numbers, but they show that he can contribute in both halves of the pitch.
It is his work rate and positioning that are his best attributes, but these don’t translate to stats very well. He is always covering a lot of ground for the team and his concentration levels are high, as shown by the rarity he makes mistakes.
Arsenal are often criticised for a lack of heart, but that criticism can’t be directed at Elneny.
There is a lot to like about Elneny and Arsene Wenger praised the player last August. He spoke to the official site and the comments reflect how highly the midfielder is thought of within the club:
“It took him some time to adapt to the intensity of the games and I think he was not aggressive enough for the Premier League [initially]. But now he has added that to his game.
“People forget that Elneny is 25 years old. He is not 30 – he’s still a young player and his best years are in front of him.”
Elneny is still considered a young player by Wenger and it could be that more playing time is right around the corner for the Egyptian international.
The midfield area is a weakness for Arsenal, as they have struggled to find the right combination of players. Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka are both very good players in their own right, but they lack something as a partnership.
Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere has yet to sign a new deal and has suffered another injury.
The rest of the season is a write off for Arsenal aside from the Europa League. It offers them the best chance of success and it is worth noting that Mohamed Elneny has played a prominent role in the competition.
The success hasn’t been down to him, but he has contributed and done enough to earn a new contract. There should now be a chance to replicate that form in the Premier League.