Premier League • England

Emery orders £6m raid on Arsenal to strengthen Aston Villa midfield with target who once accused him of being unfair

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery

Arsenal could receive an offer for Mohamed Elneny from Aston Villa in January, less than two years after the midfielder criticised Unai Emery, according to a report.

Elneny is into the final six months of his contract at the Emirates Stadium. However, Arsenal do have an option to extend his stay by a further 12 months. Now, though, they could have a decision to make regarding his immediate future.

According to the Sunday Mirror, Elneny is attracting interest from Aston Villa. The move would represent a reunion with his former Arsenal manager, Emery.

The report claims that Emery wants his club to make a bid for Elneny in the region of £6million. In theory, his arrival could account for the potential exit of Morgan Sanson, who is reportedly pushing to leave Villa.

And although plenty of competition would remain in Villa’s midfield, Elneny might have a better chance of playing regularly for them than he currently does at Arsenal.

So far this season, he has only started one Premier League match under Mikel Arteta. He has also been granted one start apiece in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.

Therefore, Elneny couldn’t be blamed if he was to be considering his future, despite being part of a squad that currently tops the Premier League.

Whether he would want to reunite with Emery is another matter, though. Back in April 2021, the Egypt international criticised the Spanish coach’s style in contrast to Arteta’s.

He told Sky Sports at the time: “If you are good you will play, if you are not good you will be on the bench, or you will be out of the squad.

“This is what I love from Mikel Arteta because it is fair. If you train good and you train hard and you are ready to play he will give you a chance to play.

“This is what I missed before with Emery. He wasn’t giving me a chance to play and that’s why I get a chance to go to Turkey [on loan with Besiktas] and prove myself and I come back and I’m happy about myself now.”

Elneny might not want Emery reunion

Emery previously gave Elneny 17 of his 154 Arsenal appearances to date. In contrast, Arteta has used him 64 times so far. The 30-year-old would have to be sure of Emery’s plans for him if they were to link up again.

But he is at a stage of his career where he will want to be ensuring he is getting fair opportunities again. Injuries haven’t helped him so far this season, in fairness. Thus, perhaps he could get more of a chance as he gets back towards full fitness with Arsenal.

However, he still has the likes of Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey to contend with for a place in midfield. Furthermore, Arsenal might want to make their own signings in that department if possible.

Therefore, Elneny will have to carefully consider his options. Villa would allow him to continue in the Premier League, but due to his previous comments about Emery, they might not be at the top of his list for now.

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