Friday, February 23, 2024

Wenger likes Elneny flexibility + Gabriel, Wilshere & Santi updates

Arsene Wenger says Mohamed Elneny proved he has what it takes to help Arsenal out at centre-back having impressed in the role during Arsenal’s pre-season.

Unable to call on Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Gabriel and Calum Chambers, the boss asked the Egypt international to make up the numbers in the Gunners three-man defence for matches in Australia and China.

While there’s no suggestion the midfielder will be moved into defence on a permanent basis, Wenger liked what he saw from ever-willing 25-year-old.

“Elneny is a player who has a fantastic mentality and attitude, and his main target is to help the team,” he told Arsenal Player. “When he plays there [as a centre-back], of course he does extremely well.

“Of course [he needs to learn the defensive side], but I always felt that a good central midfielder can be a good centre back. With the fact of course that when you’re playing in the back four you have to be decisive in the challenges, you have a bit more flexibility in the middle of a back three. He can do that.

“Overall on tour, I played players like Elneny in a back three and he coped very well. Maitland-Niles sometimes played at centre back as well, even in the big games against Chelsea.”

Assuming there are no injuries there’s a chance Arsenal could start the season with Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal in the centre of defence with Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac on the flanks.

Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding will provide added competition once they’ve done a couple of weeks of fitness work. A decision is yet to be taken over the future of Calum Chambers who could be allowed to leave, while Gabriel is still sidelined with the injury picked up on the final day of the Premier League season.

“I would say that Gabriel is still a few weeks away because he has an inflammation of his bone,” said of the Brazilian.

The boss also had an update on a couple of other long-term absentees.

“Jack Wilshere is close to coming back to training. Santi Cazorla, it is difficult to set a definite date but he is getting better every day. Overall those are the main injuries we have. Everyone else is back to fitness.”

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santi\'s step-ladder

isn’t kos suspended for the opening game?


koscielny is suspended no?


For first game yes. Interesting issue on who to play in back three first game then I guess. Maybe elneny?


For first 2 games. Community Shield doesn’t count.


yes it counts

Original Paul



No it doesn’t. It’s counted as a friendly. Will miss first 2 Premiership matches


Why down thumbs for stating the truth ?

dr Strange

I like Elneny. He´s a great squadplayer and better than Coq so he should, and I hope, he will play more in the coming season.


Don’t know why you have so many thumbs down?

Brandon Burton

I like Elneny too, worth keeping in the squad especially with his new found CB flexibility. I think in midfield as backup for Xhaka, Coquelin is a better option – we shouldn’t write him off so easily.
If we can upgrade Elneny or Wilshere with Seri or another strong Number 8, I think we’ll have a strong midfield line up
If we lost them both but retained the talents of Ox and managed to land Lemar I’d consider that a successful window


Well if David Luiz can do it…..


Lovely attitude on the lad as well. Loves it here. Respects the fact that he’s at a big club and can’t be playing every game. Always smiling.


Koscielny is suspended, so a possible back 3 of Elneny, Per and Nacho? Could be dangerous in the opening game with Leicester having plenty of pace but as we have seen with Per in the cup you don’t always need pace when you’ve an excellent football mind. Happy enough with how things are shaping up but I really do feel that we need another central midfielder with our current injuries there, possible departures and the inevitable injuries that we will get during the season. We are well stocked generally but we need to start moving on players like debuchy, jenko,… Read more »

Bon Jello

Monaco have sold a decent fullback (soon to be two), a quality attacking midfielder and an integral central midfielder. They’ve suggested that they won’t reinvest much money into replacements, so the Lemar deal could be very difficult. BUT, and forgive me for living in a perfect dream land, the players you’ve mentioned, in particular Gibbs, Debuchy and Wilshere, could all three be used towards the Lemar deal? I feel all three could work very well for whats left of the Monaco squad, both positionally and experience wise, and they all have points to prove. Throw in a buy-back clause on… Read more »



Bon Jello

It was just a thought, an idea to create topics to discuss. In many ways how a conversation works, people make a suggestion, others agree/disagree… I’m fully aware it’s a highly unlikely scenario, I blatantly admit to this. It’s highly improbable but in football there is little that’s impossible. Deals such as the one I’ve mentioned are very rare, very, but by no means destined to never occur. This site has so many people in the comments who over-react to mere suggestions, again and again… sadly this is the internet era we live in. Week in, week out people post… Read more »


i do think Monaco are one likely suitor for Gibbs. The rest of this is crazy.


Swaps and ‘makeweight’ deals are incredibly rare these days. Monaco would have to agree and all three of the others as well.


Not sure why this got downvotes, you’re spot on. Swaps are really rare nowadays.


If Arsene thinks Lacazette and Kolasniac are enough to compete for the title? then he’s got it horribly wrong again. If he comes back with the same pampered players who’ve been letting him down time and again? Then expect another season of frustration. When you hear him talking about tapping up and asking about player availability it’s clear to see why we struggle getting in players. Arsene: “Is player “X’ for sale this summer?’ Said Club: “No we have no wish to sell Player “x’ Arsene: “Ok, I’m sorry to bother you’ And before you all start abusing me read… Read more »

Little Mozart\'s Require in Dm

“Morals, values and ethics and just restrictions and restrictions are lost possibilities.”

This is not pleasant reading. Can’t wait to have real football back.


Wenger the “nice guy” got first dibs at a long sit-down with M’bappé, and words around his camp are that Arsenal is basically the only potential option other than the preferred Real Madrid.

It definitely does pay to have ethics in transfer dealings, because the fraternity of players, agents, and clubs is a small world.


How’s that worked out for us?
Him and his family might like Arsenal? And like Arsene Wenger and respect him.
But ultimately he’ll end up with the supermodel, I think her names Real Madrid.


Your lead statement is a false argument so I didn’t need to read anything after. The club is still working on transfers so obviously they think there is need for more.


We’ve heard this all before.
The club couldn’t get Mbappe, so we sign Lacazette who won’t be that much of an improvement.
We’ve signed a left back on a free.
We’ll sell a few to balance the books.
And we’ll say we tried but the market was difficult.


I don’t understand what’s wrong with signing a player “on a free”, strikes me as actually rather good business but then we’re in Kyle Walker = £50,000,000.00 plus wages world so what do I know.


Nothing wrong with signing a player on a free. I like the initial look of him, he looks fast and aggressive, hopefully he’ll turn out to be a gem and Be an instant improvement on our first eleven. But with Arsenal I’m always skeptical… Are we genuinely signing the best left back that we can? Or are we trying to be cute? And going for the easier/cheaper option? I love Arsenal and always will, but we’ve got a seriously strained relationship. I’ve got a horrible feeling this season will be just more of the same, mainly because we have the… Read more »

I\'m Professor Ignorance, on this subject

This attitude is that of wanting to make a quick buck, put one over on their neighbor, and say sorry pal but you lose and I win. This is how being successful might work in the imagination of Ayn Rand or Donald Trump, but it’s critically lacking in long term perspective (and also other things). There’s different ways to make deals. One way is Trump’s, where the formula is “I have all the power and you have none, so bow to my will”, and that works great on TV shows where you are literally the guy with all the power.… Read more »


Surely Holding or Chambers start in the back 3 against Leicester, how unfit can you get in 3 weeks


Holding and Chambers have been training all week, so will have 3 weeks of prep done for season opener, both likely to get game time this weekend, and then cs, Mustafi will be back in training on Sunday,(as will Alexis), so he will have 12 days of prep for season opener.


Wilshire could have been our perfect Santo Carzola’s replacement but he is always injured… So let him just go…


* Wilshere
* Santi
* Cazorla

And that’s just the spelling errors in your comment.


for the championship = we need to get Seri _ Lemar and top class central defender(Koscielny _ Mustafi)


Its not going to happen neither is the title with what we have as it stands.


If I’m not mistaken there is a month of window left. Man, people can’t wait to get the pissing and moaning started.


Heard it all before thats why mpls.its up thier with judge him at end of season etc etc
Been here so many times. This player short that player short.

JJ\'s Bender

Two types of people Mpls: Optimist like you and I, and pessimists like Voldy

Don’t let it get you down man


For pessimist read realist


And new ipads and one those fleecy gap hoodies each. Title in the bag.

Bon Jello

I have thought for a while we’ve been overlooking CB far too often. Holding was a diamond in the rough, great buy. Chambers, has potential to play on the right of a back 3, but for him and us I think it’d be wise to loan him to a midtable team (or sell, including a good buy-back agreement? Palace? Southampton return?), as he’s shown for England what regular game time and having the opportunity to lead can do for him. Bielik looks to be coming along nicely, but still a season away. Beyond that Per is class, but by his… Read more »


We have Per, Kos, Nacho, Gabriel, Holding, Shkodran, Callum, and in a pinch Mohamed and apparently Ainsley.

You do realize you can only carry 25 players into a season, right? How many of those should be defenders?

Bon Jello

Yes clearly, I’m just saying we may only get one more season from Per and Nacho. Kos and Per will struggle to play more than one game a week (in a Europa season). Chambers might not shine if he’s forever the understudy. Personally, I don’t think relying on Gabriel and Mustafi will help in a title challenge. Holding looks to be thriving at Arsenal. Apparently Kolasinic is capable of CB in a back 3 too, I’m aware of the options. I’m merely speculating that perhaps a slight change in our defence, a couple outs and one in, may strenthen the… Read more »

Sean Williams

Why will Arsenal never even have a remote chance of winning the league? Because there is no possible way if you have Elneny, Coquelin, Gabriel or Walcott playing for us. They are not good enough. So I see last season repeating itself like all the other groundhog days/years we have had. If by some stroke of good fortune Wenger wakes up and gets Jean Michael Seri and Riyad Mahrez then we may have upped our squad nearly enough. But with City, United, Chelsea and even Liverpool looking way stronger than us Wenger seems to be going back to type. So… Read more »

Third Plebeian

We have so many good but not great players in our current central midfield setup.


I’d Santi was fit? I’d certainly class him as a great player
Different class and an absolute joy to watch

Sanchez\' favourite dog

Santi is differently great, but sadly not in our midfield setup right now or in the foreseeable future…


I am starting to think that we’re not going to get anybody else.

Hard to believe that is what Wenger wants.


CB would not be my priority, we have plenty of them and they’re all pretty good


There are only 3-4 great central midfielders in the entire Premier league. Say Real or Barca were going shopping, and wanted an engine-room guy. Who’d they grab? Pogba, probably, though mostly on reputation and potential than on truly inspired United performances. Kanté of the back of the last 2 seasons for sure. After that it’s pretty murky. Ramsey, Dembele, Herrera, Henderson could all claim the next spot, and Xhaka isn’t far behind that group, and probably hasn’t bedded into the league fully yet. Would I like a Kanté? Sure, but it’s not critical to win the PL. Our guys are… Read more »


if blogs tends to be wrong about one thing it’s usually the amount of players we get off during summer. no offense, of course.

nacho man

whats a rough time frame for the mighty santi to return??
any ballpark idea?


It’s hard to tell with a 33 yr old, from personal experience I can tell you there’s a lot less strain your body can take. Rebuilding strength will be a struggle.


Why would you try to mold Elneny into a CB, even if he just plays a few games there? Just get a proper backup CB Arsène. Geez…..

Merlin\'s Panini

We have like a billion centre backs. We don’t need another one.
It’s just because Holding and Chambers were away with the summer internationals that he had to play. If we keep all six first team centre backs on the books it would be pointless to buy more.


He’s cross-training. I mean, isn’t everyone complaining about our midfielders not knowing how to defend? And then there are complaints when they get a turnout in defense during the preseason.


Why buy a new would class CB when you can use a mediocre midfielder instead?


“Hello. Hummels? It’s Arsene. I know you’re at Bayern and might be busy right now, but we’re short a CB for an all-important preseason tourney in Australia because of international competition. Would you be interested in joining the squad? Steve said he’d be happy to bunk with you.”


Out of the last 6 games when Oxlade-Chamberlain was fit, Wenger picked him ahead of Bellerin as a wing-back…
(Rightly so… IMO)


…5 times… out of the last 6


Yes, agree, but this site loves em some Hector, so…


Hector’s form was still suffering following the braining he got from that Chelsea fuck, and Ox was up for it. These things are all situational, not flat out preferences in a vacuum.

Richard Patrick

I’ve got a funny feeling about Elneny this season. I think he look hungry and Arsene coming out and labelling him squad player might just give him that push. Watch this space but I think Elneny might surprise everyone this season.


I didn’t like the “Everybody Hates Ozil” bit. I enjoy his play more than anyone else’s. Alexis is good fun and you forgive all the times he gives the ball away but Ozil is the closest we’ve had to a Bergkamp since.

Original Paul

Elneny in!

Spanish Gooner

I have been worried about the CAB situation for a while – Mertesacker and Holding were excellent in the final, true, but they didn’t play 10 league games between them last year, can we rely on them for the whole season? Add to that Koscielny’s dodgy Achilles, Gabriel’s struggles and Elneny at CB looks like it could become a permanent fixture


Bielik should start


Hmm, i personally think we need to sign a CB, with Per retires next season and it looks like we’ll sell Chambers/Gabriel, we need to sign CB, probably VVD because he is available right now.
Rather than gambling to change DM to CB, it’s far better we sign a CB, we are in transfer windows right now, no need to do this role changing, if we need CB sign CB then, if we need DM, sign a DM then.


“Flexibility” in Wenger speak means mediocrity. Jack of all trade master of none. I said before Elneny’s chief asset is he is content with coming off the bench and staying on the bench for long periods. This is one reason we bought him. He was OK at Cback (but remember the opposition invoved and it was pre-season) In front of him is Koscielny, Mustafi, Per for starters. I don’t see much point in Elneny beyond making up numbers. I think Wenger will be dodging the need to bring in genuine capability in midfield if he is again penny-wise pound foolish… Read more »


Relying on Jack and Santi to stay fit is again a fools errant.

We’ve paid the price last two seasons banking on Santi’s fitness.

Like Rosicky before him a mecurial player if when fit but we need more concrete and realistic option.

Anything-else is a bonus.

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