<

Mohamed Elneny: Pyramid Pirlo

Discussion in 'Arsenal Talk' started by Trilly, Aug 1, 2020.

Tags:
?

Pick one

  1. Elneny

    55.6%
  2. Ceballos

    44.4%
  1. #254

    #254 Well-Known Member

    All along since he began showing promise of becoming the player he is becoming. Of course, I'll praise a player when he begins to show promise. I don't stick to the negative labels just because it is popular opinion to hunt likes.
     
    Jury likes this.
  2. Impact

    Impact Well-Known Member

    Anyone have access to The Athletic and can share the recent article on Elneny?
     
    Eduardo_da_Silva likes this.
  3. Trilly

    Trilly The John Sauce Of Ilford Trusted

    :rofl:
     
  4. Jury

    Jury Mission Accomplished

    Not sure if that’s the case with Elneny though. I don’t recall anyone saying he was disastrous, just not what we should be pinning our hopes on. He was only ever tidy, I don’t think anybody denied that. Of course, this is a football form and you will get things going a bit too far, but those same people if you ask them what they really thought of him, would say that he’s not capable of supplying what we needed. For what it’s worth, I think something may have been unlocked in him. I hope that’s what it turns out to be. If you’ve always been a fan then fair enough, nothing wrong with that.
     
    #254 likes this.
  5. AmsterdamGunner

    AmsterdamGunner Active Member

    If only the away fans had been there to roar their appreciation. In the 91st minute of Arsenal’s win over Manchester United, Mohamed Elneny somehow found the energy to tear from one corner of his own half to the other, chasing down the ball like a man possessed as United passed it around — a superhuman feat from a player once dismissed as ordinary.

    For Elneny, 91 minutes is a breeze. As a child in the Egyptian city of El-Mahalla, 70 miles north of Cairo, he would sometimes play street football for 10 hours in a single day. It is where he built the stamina which helped protect Arsenal’s 1-0 lead at Old Trafford on Sunday.

    “I like to be constantly on the move,” he says. “Running is part of my job.”

    It is almost five years since Elneny moved to Arsenal, and yet his performance at the weekend felt like his true arrival as a first-team player. An Arsenal career that had appeared over is now flickering into life. A resurrection is occurring.

    After Old Trafford, manager Mikel Arteta was prompted to talk about the performances of summer signings Gabriel and Thomas Partey but continually diverted the conversation back to the less-heralded Elneny. “What Mo transmits to the team is special,” he said. “He has this energy as a person… I like players that have zero ego, who play for the team, who want to contribute, regardless of what it is, whether that’s one minute or 96 minutes or just by being there and giving positive feedback all the time.”

    Arteta knew Elneny’s capabilities better than most — they were briefly Arsenal team-mates after the Egyptian first joined from Swiss club Basel in January 2016 and played together twice for a grand total of 21 minutes.

    “He contributes to our culture and is a person who admired by everyone at the club,” he said. “And now he’s showing his qualities as a footballer. I always believed he had them.”

    Elneny’s father, Nasser, has arguably the biggest influence on his career to date.

    A youth team coach at the Baladeyet Al-Mahalla club in their hometown, he trained Mohamed from the age of three — even encouraging him to sleep with a football in his bed. The message: “You have to be one with the ball.”

    He was part of the Al Ahly academy in Cairo, before joining his first professional team Al Mokawloon — nicknamed the Mountain Wolves. It was there he first joined up with Mohamed Salah, a relationship that endures to this day. Salah is older by just a month and together they have travelled to Switzerland with Basel and now on to England, as well as becoming stars of their national team.

    Hamza El Gamal was a youth coach to both young players. From the very outset, he believed they were destined to play at European clubs. “Despite their young age, they were very talented players with great technical and tactical skills,” he told Egypt Today. “But what they most stood out at was their personality and their way of thinking.”

    Georg Heitz, now sporting director at MLS side Chicago Fire, was in the same job at Basel when they began discussions to sign Salah. “I can remember when I was negotiating the deal for Salah with Al Mokawloon, and their president told me he had another player for me,” Heitz recalls. “He meant Elneny.”

    Heitz was assured the two players shared a special connection — an ability to find each other on the pitch that could prove invaluable for Basel: “I can still remember what he said — ‘He has Bluetooth with Salah!’”

    Basel were eventually convinced to take Elneny on trial. The midfielder had figured in Egypt’s Olympic squad at London 2012 but was still only 20. “I had one overriding emotion: fear”, he told Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung in 2015.

    He joined Basel for their 2012-13 winter break in Marbella that January, and Heitz and his staff were impressed: “He has many qualities, but it was his passing skills, his passion for the sport always stood out – and he could run like a horse!”

    Elneny also earned rave reviews from the senior professionals. After his first training session, right-back Philipp Degen jogged over to Heitz and the club president and told them: “You must sign this player immediately — he plays the ball like (Bayern Munich and Germany midfield stalwart Bastian) Schweinsteiger!”

    Basel opted to sign Elneny, initially on loan before an €800,000 permanent deal. Given that he only spoke Arabic at the time, Salah became his de facto translator.

    Elneny lived in the apartment block at the club’s St Jakob Park stadium complex, and had a view of the pitch from the window. He followed a diligent routine, focusing entirely on his training and his faith — a devout Muslim, Elneny prays five times a day. It’s an approach that he still maintains. “Elneny is, in some ways, a traditional, old-fashioned footballer,” says one Arsenal source. “He goes to work, does his job, and goes home to his family.”

    For some time, Elneny has been talked of as a “StatDNA signing” — a player who had been identified using Arsenal’s internal analytics department. The truth, however, is more nuanced. There have been instances where the scouting and stats department have not seen eye-to-eye — striker Lucas Perez, who cost £17 million and started just two Premier League games for the club, was one such case — but this was not one of those.

    Initially, Elneny caught the eye of Arsenal’s scouting department. Francis Cagigao was despatched to watch him in action for Basel — three times in person, and many more games on video. StatDNA were then asked to profile the player.

    Arsenal were looking to add a midfielder after a summer 2015 window in which they failed to sign a single senior outfield player, adding only goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea. Elneny was not first on StatDNA’s list, but given the limitations of the January window, he was a player whose credentials they were prepared to endorse.

    Arsène Wenger, who watched Elneny on video several times, eventually sat down with Cagigao, chief scout Steve Rowley and Jaeson Rosenfeld of StatDNA. The conclusion reached was that Elneny could prove to be a useful squad player, offering the ability to fulfil a variety of different functions in midfield.

    And so it has largely proved. If Elneny has not always shone at Arsenal, it is equally difficult to argue he has ever been especially bad. Consistency is one of his strengths. Confidence, according to some of those that know the player best, is not.

    “If you look at what Elneny is producing now, that’s been within his capabilities since day one,” says one former Arsenal staff member. “The difference is his level of comfort and confidence. It seems like he’s found a coach who really believes in him.”

    There were those within Arsenal’s recruitment department who argued against the acquisition of Matteo Guendouzi in the summer of 2018 on the basis that Elneny was the superior player.

    However, come 2019-20 pre-season, Elneny needed a change. He had fallen out of favour under Unai Emery and wanted an opportunity to play more regular first-team football. Even then, his preference was for a loan move — with three years remaining on his Arsenal contract, he had not given up hope of reclaiming a place in the squad.

    Elneny moved to Turkish side Besiktas on loan and quickly established himself at the heart of their team. Between his September debut and the season’s end in late July, the only four Super Lig matches he missed were due to suspension. Unfortunately, a positive year on the pitch in Istanbul was marred by a protracted dispute over unpaid wages. Besiktas’ precarious financial position meant there was no realistic chance of a permanent transfer. “Elneny was the player we wished that wouldn’t go,” head coach Sergen Yalcin said in a press conference. “But his cost was too high.”

    Elneny reported back to Arsenal this pre-season with a degree of apprehension.

    He was already playing in Turkey when Arteta was appointed in December as Emery’s successor, and there had not been much contact. “Before I came to London, I didn’t speak to him and I was a bit…. not stressed, but just thinking about what would he like,” Elneny told the club’s official website.

    In a meeting at the club’s training ground, Elneny impressed upon Arteta that his desire was to stay with Arsenal. Perhaps more importantly, he showed a tremendous willingness on the training pitch, returning to London Colney fitter than some of his counterparts. Midfield was always an area likely to undergo substantial churn during the summer transfer window, and Elneny sensed an opportunity.

    “Everyone was excited to see me back, and when I trained, everyone gave me good feedback, saying, ‘Mo, you did well’ and this makes you get your confidence back,” explains Elneny. “I will build it and build it and every day I try to learn new things.”

    At a time when Arteta is trying to implement cultural change at Arsenal, Elneny’s positivity has been a welcome addition. That is something he has always had.

    “I have to say, on a human front, that he is loved unanimously at this club,” Wenger said in 2016. “He possesses all the qualities that you would want from a player. He is passionate, every day he gives absolutely 100 per cent in training, he is friendly with everybody and he is hugely humble. I must say that I completely admire his team attitude and I’m a big fan of Elneny, on the human front; that’s before you even talk about his qualities as a footballer.

    “He has that same energy as Auba,” says another training ground source. “He’s always smiling, always got a minute for you.” Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have a great rapport — when the final whistle blew at Old Trafford, the Egyptian’s cry of “Auba!” to Arsenal’s matchwinner echoed around the almost-empty arena.

    Elneny’s humility has become more impressive as his profile has grown. With 4.5 million Twitter followers — roughly three times more than Aubameyang — he is a huge star back in Egypt. It has not changed him, though. “Even if people see me as a star, I am not. I am a normal person,” he says. “In my eyes, it is dangerous to feel like a star. All you have to do is injure yourself or end your career, and you’ll fall into a deep hole. I would like more humility and gratitude in football.”

    Elneny’s personality translates into a selfless playing style — one that puts the team first and often allows his midfield partner to shine. It’s no coincidence that Partey has looked so good next to him. He is an inherently complementary player; one who shines in a supporting role.

    That’s not to say he hasn’t had individual highlights this season: his defence-splitting pass helped create the winning goal against Rapid Vienna in the opening Europa League group game. When Elneny wore the armband for a few minutes against Dundalk last Thursday, he described himself as “beyond proud and grateful”.

    It was his United performance on Sunday that will live longest in the memory, though. Arsenal’s last victory away to another ‘big six’ side had been in January 2015, a 2-0 win at Manchester City founded on a midfield axis of Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin. It was that game which really established Coquelin as the obvious foil to the more gifted Cazorla. Perhaps the United game could do the same for Elneny.

    There will be games when Arteta may return to the on-the-ball attributes of Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos, but Elneny has at least established himself as an intriguing alternative.

    On Partey’s right arm is a tattoo of an octopus — an allusion to his time at Spanish club Almeria when he was nicknamed ‘El pulpo’ because of the way his legs reached out like tentacles to steal loose balls. In the comments section under Elneny’s latest Instagram post, Partey dubbed his midfield partner “The Lion”.

    Few could have anticipated that Cazorla and Coquelin would form an effective midfield duo. Perhaps Arsenal have stumbled onto another unlikely partnership in Partey and Elneny — the octopus and the lion.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
    Pyres7, krackpot, Jae and 13 others like this.
  6. Big Poppa

    Big Poppa Well-Known Member Trusted

    Fair enough
     
    say yes likes this.
  7. American_Gooner

    American_Gooner Not actually American. Unless Di Marzio says so. Moderator

  8. Riou

    Riou Non-Stop Nostalgia

    [​IMG]
     
    DanDare, American_Gooner and Jury like this.
  9. Jury

    Jury Mission Accomplished

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Macho

    Macho Established Member Trusted

    @kash2
     
    Riou and celestis like this.
  11. Trilly

    Trilly The John Sauce Of Ilford Trusted

    Tears in my eyes reading this. I remember when we signed him all those years ago, I kicked off his player thread with a simple post: please save us. Fast forward a few years and he's put in a commanding performance and given us that away win at a top 6 club. If that isn't poetic then I don't know what it is.

    Btw you should spoiler tag your post, I think that stops the google copyright bots from finding it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2020
  12. yousif_arsenal

    yousif_arsenal King of Twitter Rumours Moderator

    Any contracts renewal should wait until end of season let's see how he'll preform and if importantly improve more he still have 2 years in his current contract.
     
    EmeryCouldnt likes this.
  13. blrgooner

    blrgooner Well-Known Member

    I have never really liked him over his career till now, but I can see sense in extending his contract.He hasbeen brilliant this season so far and at worst, he would be a good squad option who gives his 100% in every game. A team needs these kind of players. Especially since it doesnt look like we have any other big midfielder coming through from youth ranks except for Azeez.
     
  14. <<reed>>

    <<reed>> Meme Merchant

    [​IMG]
     
  15. scytheavatar

    scytheavatar Well-Known Member

    Can anyone out there actually argue that Guendouzi is a better player than Elneny? In what way is he better? He doesn't run more, doesn't defend better, doesn't position himself better, doesn't show more football IQ, doesn't pass better, doesn't hold the ball better......... same thing can be asked about Torreira too.
     
  16. Wryer

    Wryer Well-Known Member

    Another few more games like those he had -

    Give him back his No. 4 jersey.
     
  17. AmsterdamGunner

    AmsterdamGunner Active Member

    How do you spoiler tag?
     
  18. Trilly

    Trilly The John Sauce Of Ilford Trusted

    put this before your post: (SPOILER)

    Put this after your post: (/SPOILER)

    but replace the (round brackets) with [square ones]

    Or highlight your entire post, click the icon next to the left of the floppy disk and then select spoiler.
     
  19. freeglennhelder2

    freeglennhelder2 Well-Known Member

    In the beginning of the film "The Sixth Sense" Bruce Willis is killed.
     
    Jury likes this.
  20. AmsterdamGunner

    AmsterdamGunner Active Member

    Thanks!
     

Share This Page

Watch Arsenal Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv

Do Not Sell My Personal Information