Mikel Arteta says he personally convinced Mo Elneny not to leave Arsenal
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Mikel Arteta says he personally convinced Mo Elneny not to leave Arsenal

Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has heaped praise on Mohamed Elneny and has branded him as one of the most important players in the squad.

The Egyptian has been a Gunner since January 2016. Arsene Wenger bought him to Arsenal from Basel and although he has never quite been a regular for us, everybody loves him.

Arteta, who played with Elneny, adores him as well and he has now revealed how he convinced the 29-year-old to stay at the club in January this year.

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Mikel Arteta: Mo Elneny is one of Arsenal’s most important players

Speaking in his press conference today, Arteta said about Elneny, as per Arsenal.com: “I will say that for me, he’s one of the most important players in the squad. For what he does when you give him the chance to play and for the things that he does when he doesn’t play.”

Asked if he had to convince Elneny to stay at the club last summer, the Spaniard said: “It was more in January than the summer and I think he understood with the squad that we had at that moment, that I could not let another player leave.

“It’s a tough balance because, in the end, they are in a period in their career where they are looking to extend their football lives, but at the same time, I thought that he could be important for the team in the last part of the season.”

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Mo was brilliant vs Chelsea

Nobody really expected Elneny to get the nod over Albert Sambi Lokonga when Arsenal played Chelsea this week. Arteta surprised everyone and it’s safe to say, the decision paid off.

Elneny had a tricky start to the game but he recovered quickly. He protected our backline really well and barely put a foot wrong, especially in the second half.

The Egyptian is by no means a player like Thomas Partey, but he’s extremely good at what he does. He showed that at Old Trafford last season and he did the same this week against the European champions in their own backyard.

It’s unlikely that Elneny will start against Manchester United tomorrow, but if we need him, we can be sure that he’ll step up, just like he did on Wednesday night.

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