Premier League • England

Arsenal will never sell ‘very strong’ midfielder if he gets his way, with timeline set out before spell ends

Arsenal midfielders Martin Odegaard and Mohamed Elneny

Arsenal midfielders Martin Odegaard and Mohamed Elneny

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny has revealed that, despite falling down the pecking order, he wants to retire at the club – and when that might happen.

Elneny is the longest-serving player at Arsenal, having joined the club from Basel back in January 2016. However, his involvement has declined in recent years, partially due to injury. He last started a Premier League game in August 2022.

The Egypt international is now into the final year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium. Nevertheless, after reflecting on how happy he was the last time his deal was extended back in February, he has admitted he is hoping to stay at Arsenal for the rest of his career.

“It was one of the happiest days in my life,” Elneny told the Evening Standard about his renewal earlier this year. “The way they spoke to me, the way the entire club was happy about this decision, they made me cry this day.

Arsenal Football Club, they know I love them 100 per cent, so much. They know I don’t want to leave. I want to stay and finish my career there, 100 per cent.

“I was injured and my contract was finishing and I could not play anymore last season, and they came straight away after I got injured, the next day and said: ‘Mo, what sort of contract will it have to be? We love you here and we and we want you to stay’. Really, this club is great.”

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Elneny is now 31 years old, which emphasises his status as one of the elder statesmen in the Arsenal squad. He has been at the club long enough to call current manager Mikel Arteta a former teammate.

Arteta can also call upon Declan Rice, Jorginho and Thomas Partey in defensive midfield for Arsenal. However, Elneny seems optimistic he can fight for his place.

As for how long he can envisage his career continuing – keeping in mind that he said he wants to spend the rest of it with Arsenal – he is looking ahead at least half a decade.

Elneny aiming to play into mid-thirties

“I want to finish my career when I’m 37 or 36, so I still have five or six years left to go,” Elneny added.

“I’m working really hard like always and trying to go back into the first XI for Arsenal. For sure, it’s my goal this year.

“I know I’m coming back from a long injury and this is what I’m doing in the training ground; fighting, fighting and fighting to come back and be in the starting XI.

“That’s why I’m giving 100 per cent every day to show I’m ready to play and then when I get the chance to play, I have to show I can still be there and give my everything to this club.”

Elneny’s overall appearance tally for Arsenal, either side of a loan spell at Besiktas in the 2019-20 season, is 156. During that time, he has scored six goals and provided 10 assists.

At the time of his arrival, he was described as then-manager Arsene Wenger as a ‘very strong’ and ‘very active’ player. Sadly, he hasn’t quite been able to fulfil his potential in north London, but he might still carry some kind of value to Arteta.

Elneny has signed contract renewals with Arsenal in 2018, 2022 and 2023 – and may well be hoping to put pen to paper on fresh terms in for a fourth time next year.

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