Elneny on Arsenal contract extension and being dubbed the ‘Egyptian Messi’
Mohamed Elneny has lifted the lid on his desire to stay with Arsenal and what it’s like to be dubbed the ‘Egyptian Messi’.
Elneny was signed from Basel in January 2016 by the Gunners but has struggled to hold down a regular starting berth over his time at the club. Indeed, he was loaned out to Besiktas for the 2019/20 campaign.
He featured in the 3-1 Europa League victory over Olympiacos last week, netting the winner with a special long-range strike. It was his fourth goal for the club, all of which have come in Europe.
Despite his contribution in Greece, Elneny’s future is uncertain, with his contract up in 2022.
The 28-year-old Egypt international, though, is eager to sign fresh terms.
“I am always loyal to Arsenal. If Arsenal say to me I will always be happy to do this,” he said before explaining how hard he has worked to get his shot at the club – and how much he wants that to be in the starting XI.
“I expected to come back from Besiktas because I wanted to be all the time with the biggest team. When I was on loan, I was always thinking I need to get back to Arsenal.
“I am training so hard to be in the first 11 all the time. If Mikel decides to have me on the bench, I try all day in training to think what I missed to be in the starting 11.”
Mohamed Elneny: The Egyptian Messi?
His contribution last week led to him being branded as the Egyptian Messi but Gunners fans.
While Mohamed Salah of Liverpool may have something to say about that title, Elneny admitted he was happy with the recognition: “I’m always happy when I do things to make our fans happy. I’m always working hard for my teammates. When I hear something nice from the fans it makes me happy.”
Elneny will hope to be involved in Thursday’s Europa League return leg as Arsenal seek to book a quarter-final berth by overcoming Olympiacos.