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'Special,' 'tremendous': PL boss believes Newcastle-linked midfielder has 'zero ego'

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The Daily Mail revealed this week that Newcastle United have discussed the possibility of signing Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny in the January transfer window.

The Egyptian has always been a squad player at Arsenal. He has played 137 times for the Gunners in all competitions since Arsene Wenger signed him in January 2016, but he has never really been one of the first names on the team sheet.

Elneny has entered the final year of his contract and there is a good chance that Arsenal will let him go for a small fee next month.

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Newcastle United fans would’ve been hoping for someone who’s much better than Elneny, but the Egyptian is not a bad player at all. Just ask Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

Mikel Arteta: Newcastle-linked Mohamed Elneny has zero ego

The Arsenal boss said back in November last year, as per The Metro: “What Mo transmits through the team is special. He has this energy as a person, he goes in a room and he creates an atmosphere. Today I thought we needed that energy and that positive feeling he brings all the time and I think he was tremendous on the pitch.

“Obviously, I played with him and I know his qualities and what he brings to the squad. I like a lot players who have zero ego and they play for the team, they want to contribute whatever it is, whether it’s one minute or 96 minutes, or just by being there and being all the time positive feedback and contribute to our culture.

“Mo is a person that is admired amongst everyone at the football club. I think now I expect a lot [from him] as a footballer, something that I always believed he had to do.”

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Newcastle’s ambitions are massive under their new owners. They are aiming to take the Magpies to the very top, but the immediate priority for Eddie Howe is to avoid relegation. That issue has to be addressed in January and an experienced player like Elneny is not a bad option at all.

The Egyptian is very good on the ball and has a fantastic work ethic. He works really hard for the team and although his skill set in attack is very limited, he is a very good player in that number six role.

It will be interesting to see if Newcastle will make a move for Elneny next month. The Magpies have to consider the fact that he will be away on international duty at AFCON as well. That could well be a deal-breaker, but if an opportunity arises to sign him for a small fee, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take him.

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