Mohamed Elneny says he’d sign a new deal at Arsenal even without the guarantee of regular football.
Having spent most of the season on the bench, the Egypt international has come to the fore in the last week, helping to anchor the Gunners midfield in the absence of Thomas Partey.
His assured performances in the wins against Chelsea and Manchester United have served as a reminder of his understated qualities and given his profile a timely boost two months before his current contract at Emirates Stadium comes to an end.
Last week, Mikel Arteta labelled Elneny “one of the most important members of the squad” and promised he would talk to the player about his future at the end of the season. All the same, the Spaniard, who played alongside the 29-year-old under Arsene Wenger, was non-committal on the prospect of a new contract
Quizzed on whether he’d stay at Arsenal even if game time was limited, Elneny said: “Of course. I always love a challenge and give 100 per cent all the time.
“I don’t decide who plays but I keep going in training to show how good I am and to make him play me.
“If I don’t play I keep going until I get my chance. If Arsenal say ‘we want you’ I don’t think about leaving. It’s my family for six years. I love this club.”
On the opportunity to make his mark in the last week, he continued: “I’m really happy to be one of the starting XI for these two games.
“I gave everything in training to be one of the starting XI every game and I got my chance and I think I did well. Most importantly, we won the two games.
“It’s been a long wait for me but you have to believe. I have to train hard every day, focus all the time to wait for a chance and when it comes you have to give everything just to keep it.
“He [Arteta] just trusts me and he put me in the big games, and I have to thank him for that.
“I will keep going and not think about anything else, just focus on my performances to help the team reach our goal.”
While Elneny wasn’t Unai Emery’s cup of tea – the Spaniard happy to loan the midfielder to Besiktas in 2019/20 – both Wenger and Arteta have always praised his attitude and the positive influence he has within the dressing room.
We actually wouldn’t be against Mo sticking around. However, we suspect, in spite of all his current enthusiasm, when push comes to shove, whatever Arsenal offers – if anything – it won’t compare to the offers likely to come his way as a free agent.