Arteta plays down Elneny contract extension talk
In November, Mikel Arteta said Arsenal are taking things ‘step by step’ with Mohamed Elneny, amid media rumours of a contract extension.
In November, the Daily Mail reported that Arsenal were preparing to discuss a contract extension with Mohamed Elneny, after his strong start to the season.
Admittedly, the Mail’s report was a bit dodgy. At one point, they wrote that Elneny’s deal “is currently poised to expire at the end of this campaign”, but later say it “expires at the end of next season”.
When Elneny signed the deal, the Mirror, the Evening Standard, talkSPORT and others reported it ran to 2022. Plus, Mikel Arteta suggested in his pre-Molde press conference that they’re taking things slow with the midfielder.
“Let’s go step by step please,” Arteta responded to Elneny contract questions. “What I can say is that I am really pleased with the player and everything that he is doing and hopefully he can continue like that and perform really well throughout the season.”
Elneny is already up to nine appearances this season, playing the full 90 minutes in all but one of those games. In November, when the report was published, only four players in the squad had made more appearances, and only three had played more minutes.
Since then, however, Elneny has dropped down to ninth in terms of minutes played this season, behind (in order of most minutes) Bernd Leno, Granit Xhaka, Bukayo Saka, Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kieran Tierney, and Nicolas Pepe.
However, only five players (Leno, Saka, Xhaka, Laca and Pepe) have featured in more matches than Elneny’s 28 at the time of writing.
Of the three games Elneny missed, Arsenal lost two. So it’s no real surprise the fans are starting to warm to him again, despite largely expecting him to leave over the summer. Winning away at Old Trafford helps too.
Let’s hope that good feeling lasts with more positive performances in the coming weeks.