Talk that Mohamed Elneny is poised to earn a new Arsenal contract has been eased by Mikel Arteta – but the midfielder has been giving warm praise by the Gunners manager.
The Egyptian appeared to be on his way out at Emirates Stadium having spent the 2019/20 season on loan with Besiktas.
However, the former Basel man has breathed new life into his Arsenal career with some eye-catching displays this season.
The 28-year-old now has nine appearances to his name this season. He put in arguably his best display last weekend as the Gunners recorded a 1-0 success at Manchester United.
That led to claims from Paul Scholes that the Egyptian is “like a new signing” for Arteta’s side after he saluted his qualities.
Since then speculation has arisen that Elneny is due to be handed a new deal, with his current arrangement expiring in June.
But despite his increasing importance to Arsenal, Arteta was keen to keep a lid on talk a new contract was imminent.
“Let’s go step by step please,” the Spaniard said when asked about reports a new contract was to be put on the table.
“What I can say is that I am really pleased with the player and everything that he is doing. Hopefully he can continue like that and perform really well throughout the season.”
Arteta added: “I think he is responding really well to all the challenges we are putting in front of him.
“He had a big one when he came back from his loan spell. He wanted to show what he could bring to the squad.
“And I think everyone has seen what he can do. So I am really pleased with his performances and what he brings to the team.”
Arteta wary of Molde dangers
Elneny could get another chance to showcase his growing importance on Thursday evening when Arsenal face Molde in the Europa League.
The Norwegians are a big. strong, physical side and Arteta is well aware of the dangers they will pose.
“Their strengths are that they work really well as a team,” Arteta said of the Eliteserien side. “They are a really strong, physical team.
“They are really well organised. I would say defensively, they are really hard to beat when they get in this middle-low block.
“They have some creative players who are dangerous in the final third. They’re a real threat on set-pieces as well.
“The table now is really tight. We’ve both won both games so far. But this will probably be the most difficult game we’ve played in the competition so far.”