Is Mohamed Elneny here to stay?
Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Fulham and Arsenal at Craven Cottage on September 12, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

It was just over a year ago that Unai Emery, was telling Mohamed Elneny to leave as he had no future at the club [Independent].

Now, after a season long loan at Besiktas, Elneny returned to North London with a new manager and a new opportunity to re kindle his Arsenal career. 

With two consecutive starts, it looks as if Mikel Arteta is impressed with what the midfielder has to offer. But is he here for the long run?

Thrown into action

Well, his inclusion in the starting 11 against Fulham was no surprise after a solid performance against Liverpool in the Community Shield victory. 

The Egyptian impressed again at Craven Cottage where he showcased his distribution and composure in front of the back three.

Against The Cottagers, Elneny completed 95% of the 63 passes he attempted during the match. This included five long balls where he demonstrated the range of passes he has got in his locker. [Whoscored]

In addition to this, the former F.C Basel player totalled five interceptions in the 90 minutes he played. His ability to read the game helped to protect the defence, who managed to comfortably keep a clean sheet.

Financial complications brought Elneny back to the Gunners

In Turkey, Elneny featured 27 times in the 2019/20 Super Lig season, where Besiktas finished third. He also registered one goal and four assists and across all competitions, he appeared 36 times.

Despite impressing, The Black Eagles decided not to trigger their option to buy due to financial complications. 

Besiktas manager Sergen Yalcin said: "Elneny was the player we wished that he wouldn’t go, but his cost was too high". [goal]

Since signing from Basel in the 2016 January transfer window, the most appearances the Egyptian has ever made in a Premier League season is 14, which was the 2016/17 campaign. 

His role in the squad in previous seasons was more rotational, with the majority of his appearances coming in cup competitions. Out of the 91 appearances he has made for The Gunners, only 47 of them have been in the Premier League.  

With Arteta implementing a system which uses two defensive midfielders, Elneny could be looking at a lot more game time this season, providing the system does not change. 

Despite it appearing as if Elneny and Granit Xhaka are the preferred duo in midfield, this does not mean that either of the two are without competition. 

Tough competition

Arsenal still have Lucas Torreira, Dani Ceballos and Joe Willock who are more than capable of filling the role. 

Matteo Guendouzi is also at the club still, however it looks as if the Frenchman has fallen out of favour at the club, and may secure a move away from the Emirates this summer. [goal]

Elneny has added a maturity to his game since his loan move to Besiktas. Given his age (28), he would be expected to be hitting his prime years very soon, if not now. If there is a time to cement his place in the squad, then it is now.

However in terms of the long run? His current deal is set to expire at the end of the 2021/22 season, giving him two years left. He is also approaching his 30s meaning his time at the peak of his game may be limited. 

If his last two appearances are anything to go off of though, Elneny could see himself as an important part of the squad for at least the remainder of the season.

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