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“He epitomized what it means to play for a club like Arsenal” – Gunners legend heaps on praise on forgotten midfielder for performance vs Chelsea

It’s pretty clear that Arsenal are going to see a major overhaul in the squad this summer, so one of the biggest challenges for Mikel Arteta will be deciding which players to keep.

There needs to be long term thinking so those who stay need to stick around for a while, while it would also be helpful if they have a sell-on value and they need to be reliable players who will play for the badge.

You would hope that would apply to every player but that’s not the case, while it’s interesting to think about Mohamed Elneny and where he might stand in the rebuild.

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He’s largely forgotten about because he appeared to be on the way out last summer and he’s in and out of the side, but he was excellent in the mid-week win over Chelsea and it suggests he should look to stick around.

It’s likely that Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard will return to Real Madrid when their loans come to an end, while there were reports yesterday that suggested that Granit Xhaka is also looking for a way out.

Additions will be needed but they could still have a base of Elneny, Smith Rowe, Partey and the returning Joe Willock to build on, so it would make sense to keep the Egyptian midfielder around.

Caught Offside spoke to Arsenal legend Michael Thomas about the Chelsea victory, and it’s clear that he’s a big fan of Elneny’s performance in that game:

“Man of the Match for me was Elneny in the middle! He epitomized what it means to play for a club like Arsenal. Relentless running for his team. Emile Smith Rowe wasn’t far off as he did much the same & the defence were solid all round.”

Those comments about Elneny suggest that he’s the kind of character you want to keep around when there’s change all around him, so it will be interesting to see if he stays and plays a bigger role next season.

Perhaps he won’t be an automatic starter, but if he’s reliable and versatile then you need players like that in the squad, and it certainly makes sense for him to stay.

 

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