Mohamed Elneny may not have waited 14 years for a chance of redemption with Arsenal, but it might have felt like that at times.
The Egyptian international joined the Gunners in 2016 from Swiss side Basel, and there was considerable excitement attached to his arrival. A cultured midfielder with bite, he was just what the club were seeking.
Unfortunately, it didn’t quite pan out that way, and the arrival of Unai Emery as manager saw him slip further down the pecking order. He eventually left the club to join Besiktas on loan, and but for financial restrictions, the Turkish club would happily have signed him permanently.
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Speaking in September, Arteta said: “I really like Mo and what he brings to the squad in terms of his personality as well.
“And then at a football level, I think he needed a little bit of belief. He had some doubts about whether we could trust him or not. I had a lot of conversations with him.
“He fully deserves his chance. He trains every day with the best spirit, he wants to learn, and he’s performing really well.”
Sunday against Manchester United was evidence of just how much Arteta likes Elneny. The pair were briefly Arsenal teammates before the Spaniard retired, and on a very fundamental level, he admires the Egyptian’s energy.
“What Mo transmits to the team is special,” he told the Athletic. “He has this energy as a person… I like players that have zero ego, who play for the team, who want to contribute, regardless of what it is, whether that’s one minute or 96 minutes or just by being there and giving positive feedback all the time.”
As the club were keen to show on social media, Elneny is a tireless runner and a ferocious presser of the ball. That willingness to engage and be aggressive in trying to win the ball back…