Mikel Arteta says Arsenal could do with more reinforcement in midfield as concerns grow that Mohamed Elneny has sustained an injury that could sideline him for quite some time.
The Egypt international was on target in the 3-0 win over Oxford United two weeks ago but sat out the wins over Sp*rs and Manchester United with a knee problem. Having already missed a big chunk of the season with a thigh problem – he sat out 15 games between August and November – it’s clear the manager is worried.
While the club try to figure out the extent of the latest injury, Arteta ruled him out of Friday’s trip to Manchester City.
“I don’t think he will be [available]. Obviously, he had some issues in his knee that we see at the moment and we have to see how he evolves in the next couple of days,” the boss told his pre-game press conference.
“There are concerns. Especially as Mo is a player that never complains about anything. Let’s see.”
As things stand, Thomas Partey, our first-choice midfield anchor, is fit and playing the best football of his Arsenal career but with a history of fitness problems since he arrived at Atletico Madrid you can understand why we might want cover. While Elneny is a worthy understudy, if the Egyptian is sidelined, there’s little confidence anyone else in the current squad could have the same impact.
Asked if he needs to make another signing in the January transfer window, Arteta said: “Well, we need some more cover in midfield if we can but obviously in this market, it’s pretty complicated to do that.
“As I always say, the most important thing is that we get the performances and the time on the pitch that we need with the players we have available today that are already really good.”
There is just under a week of the transfer window left and links with alternatives are thin on the ground. On the plus side, the boss is pleased with the acquisition of Jakub Kiwior from Spezia; a player who has a history as a defensive midfielder but has been recruited to provide support to Gabriel Magalhaes, William Saliba and Rob Holding.
“He gives us more cover. Obviously we’ve been with three central defenders for the first part of the season, which is very short [on numbers],” said Arteta.
“We’ve been lucky with injuries [in that position] but we needed to recruit in that position. Jakub, as you said, has played in different roles and is a versatile player who is going to strengthen the team. If anything else is available that can make us better, we’ll look at it.”
Arteta was also asked for an update on Gabriel Jesus’ rehabilitation after the Brazilian suggested in a private conversation recorded at the weekend that he’s targeting a return to action in four to five weeks’ time.
Not for the first time, the Spaniard wouldn’t be drawn into putting a timeframe on the striker’s recovery from knee surgery.
“With him, I don’t know. He wants to be here next week but it’s totally unrealistic but he’s pushing and driving everybody there to the limits. I cannot give you an answer, hopefully, it will be weeks and not months. It was a serious injury and we need to respect that process as well.”
While he’s not available for selection, Arteta has been very pleased with the way Jesus has conducted himself in and around the squad.
“He’s been incredible with the boys, with the staff and everybody around. His energy, how positive he is towards the boys, he’s always giving them advice, always next to them.”
Sign Koopmeiners from Atalanta !
Thanks for the tip boss.
Why is no,one looking at romeo lavia? Outplayed kalvin Phillips comfortably in the fa cup win for southampton and would be cost effective alternative.
Best wishes Elneny!
Could Vieria or Smith-Rowe cover one of the midfield 2 positions if Xhaka or Partey rotated out? Sambi hasn’t looked good this year sadly.
I think our new LCB might be able to play mid as well.
Maybe White rotates into the middle and Tomi plays RB?
Almost forgot about Zinchenko! He’s pretty much a midfielder already.
We have such versatile players! I love these signings.
Never want to see xhaka in that DM spot again
I think Zinchenko in dm with Tierney at LB could be a solution. I also think, Trossard could do a job to replace Xhaka if needed. He’s got that Santi vibe to him. Great close control and can wiggle out of tight spaces.
Two-footed as well.
Why is no,one looking at romeo lavia?
That’s interesting timing because there are several reports coming out about midfielders “linked” to Arsenal. One is saying Arsenal haven’t made a bid for Fresneda after all. That would be a big surprise give all the coverage. Others say we’re actually looking to Everton’s Amadou Onana or Weston McKennie from Juve. Both clubs have serious financial problems so could be looking to sell, but who knows? Given Arteta’s comments we may not be done in the window quite yet and if so, there could be another surprise name.
Several stories around about midfielders of “interest”. One report says we’ve not bid for Fresneda after all so another surprise signing could be on the cards.
Tielemans isn’t a DM and certainly wouldn’t be available this month.
I like the idea of an over eager Jesus turning up early for rehab, staying late, showing up at the houses of his trainers to annoy them some more about when he will be ready to play again.
Shouldn’t be too hard to get somebody better than Elneny or Lokonga.
Who knows, but the nearer we get to the end of the month the more we’re likely to have to pay for any quality player.
The persistent dissing of lokonga is depressing. People are writing him off which is ridiculous – he is a young player – give him a chance. Take a look at Xhaka’s age and how long it has taken for him to find a peak in CM. Take a look at Partey’s age and how long it has taken him to find a peak at DCM. Take a look at Lokonga’s age and realise that CM/DCM are positions that benefit the most from experience, and this young guy has been captain of one of Belgium’s biggest teams at the age of… Read more »
Availability is the real issue in January, and unless you’re willing to break the bank or skirt financial regulations *cough* boehly *cough* you’re unlikely to find the one in January on a permanent basis. Is a loan option more acceptable? Is the right type of loan player available? Is it a mad trolley dash for a warm body? Who can say really. Zumbimendi (sp?) Apparently turned us down, mckennie might be available (is he much better than sambi?, idk, juve and the usmnt play a much different style to us). Leicester and Brighton look disinterested in doing business this month… Read more »
Ounahi or McKennie both seem to be available, not too much money, would improve us now and would fit in with the Rice signing.
Not sure why I’ve had so many down votes, Arteta clearly doesn’t think Sambi is up to it and has seemingly given up on him.
Mo obviously has some talent and his work rate/ personality are top, but he’s never been more than backup in the 7 seasons he’s been with the club.
If the club is indeed eyeing Rice in the summer, we should look for a loan in the meantime. I don’t see us bringing two players in this position within a few months. There’s also the subject of Patino coming back from Blackpool in the summer.
Fingers crossed Partey stays injury free anyway, his late form and fitness have been vital for our title charge.
We can also play Zinchenko in midfield if we really have no other options.
This is clearly a message for Todd, while we make our real move for a striker!