Mohamed El Neny: 10 Things You Need to Know About the Midfielder
Patience was the gospel preached by the Arsenal fan base as we waited for the imminent arrival of Mohamed Elneny from FC Basel. The signs were already there with his exclusions from the Swiss team’s match day squads in recent weeks as well as reports of the player not seen in training. Then we heard that he had agreed personal terms with the Gunners and his medical was also completed. The only niggling issue was his work permit and after several deliberations, everything has been sorted out.
Arsenal is pleased to announce the signing of the Egyptian midfielder, and Gooner Daily has decided to share some insight about the Gunners new capture. Enjoy!
Elneny Has the Fitness of an Ox
Elneny is well known in the football world for his energy, stamina and amazing fitness levels. In last season’s Champions League, Elneny covered a whooping 85,491m (85km) in the seven games he played for FC Basel. Till Basel’s elimination from the competition, nobody covered more ground than Elneny. Schalke 04’s Dennis Aogo covered (84km), Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic covered 83km and PSG’s Blaise Matuidi covered 80km.
I expect him to continue this at Arsenal.
His Injury Record is Impressive
In three-and-a-half seasons at FC Basel, Elneny played 142 games. The only time he missed out on competitive football for his team was when he suffered an arm injury that sidelined him for two weeks.
In a club like Arsenal that has become synonymous with injuries, having a player that has a clean injury record like Elneny will be a big plus.
He’s the Egyptian Sergio Busquets
We all know how the legendary Sergio Busquets rose to prominence at Barcelona, following the departure of Yaya Toure to Manchester City. Busquets has gone on to make 358 appearances for the Catalan giants, winning a plethora of trophies for the club. Busquets is known for being one of the best holding midfielders in the beautiful game, breaking down opposition with his intelligent play. His ability to read the game is second to none and he’s one of the best passers out there.
In Elneny, Arsenal has possessed their own ‘Busquets’. The Egyptian reads the game superbly and he breaks down opposition attacks with consummate ease. He also knows how to dictate tempo and he’s an efficient passer of the ball. Like Busquets, he’s a very disciplined player as well.
His Passing Stats are Up There With the Very Best
According to WhoScored, Elneny has a pass completion rate of 92.4%. He averaged about 92 passes per game and as an amazing long balls success of 8.2 per game.
These stats show that Elneny is an adept passer of the ball and he could instigate some attacks with his pin-point passing accuracy.
He’s Versatile and will Fit into Arsenal’s Style of Play
While he has been renowned for holding his line in front of the defense and protecting the back four, Elneny added a different dimension to his game this season, as his former FC Basel manager, Urs Fischer, deployed him as a box-to-box midfielder. With this new role, Elneny harnessed his creative side and got an eye for goal scoring a couple of scorchers from long distance.
Arsene Wenger also shared his thoughts on the player and highlighted his versatility as one of the reasons the Gunners went for the Egyptian,
“He can be box to box and be a holding midfielder so that is for us very promising. We wanted a versatile player and I wanted a player who can play defensive but can as well play to box to box.
“His strengths are his technical level, his vision, his intelligence, his disciplined attitude and his physical attitude to compete at a high level. I think he has the physical qualities to play at the top level.
This evidently means that Elneny will slot in comfortably alongside first team central midfielders like Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and even Francis Coquelin.
He has had his Fair Share of London
Elneny was part of the Egyptian Under-23 team that traveled to London in the 2012 Olympics.
Egypt was paired alongside Brazil, Belarus and New Zealand. After qualifying from the group in second place, Egypt was eliminated from the tournament in the quarterfinal stage when they were thrashed by eventual bronze medalists, Japan.
Elneny played all four of Egypt’s matches.
He has Faced some English Opposition in Europe
FC Basel is a team that consistently features in European competitions and with Elneny being a mainstay in the team, he featured regularly for the Swiss club in the Champions League and Europa League. In his stint with the club, he has played against a couple of English opposition, as he was part of that Basel team that famously defeated Chelsea in Stamford Bridge. He has also featured against Liverpool in the Europa League.
He Won Trophies at Basel
FC Basel is the biggest club in Switzerland and are perennial winners of the Swiss Super League with 18 titles thus far. Elneny was fortunate enough to join the club during their successful spells and he has won the last three.
Family and Religion are his Creeds
In an interview, Elneny spoke of how his father played a big role in him becoming a professional footballer,
“I remember that my father demanded that I went to bed with the ball. ‘You have to connect with the ball.’ He started coaching me when I was three years old. His biggest wish was that I became a professional footballer.”
Since then, his father, Baladeyet Al-Mahalla, a youth team coach in his native homeland, Egypt, has been with him every step of the way as he progressed from Al Ahly’s youth academy before joining Arab Contractors, or El Mokawloon, as the club is famously known in Egypt.
So when some scouts from Basel came around and invited him for trials in their Estepona training camp, Elneny’s father ensured that he had everything he needed to make it a success. The rest they say, is history,
He’s an Experienced International
At international level, Elneny has featured consistently for the Egyptian national team and since his debut in 2011, he has made 39 appearances and has scored three goals. His debut goal was even scored in London, when the Egyptians shared the spoils with Jamaica in a friendly.
His only international tournament thus far has been at Under-23 level where he represented his country in the 2012 Olympics but Egypt is currently in pole position to qualify for the 2017 African Cup of Nations that has Nigeria, Chad and Tanzania.
The player himself has expressed his delight in joining Arsenal, claiming that it’s an indescribable feeling.
I’m hoping that he would make his debut against Stoke, because that would be the best place for him to prove his worth to the squad. A certain Hector Bellerin made his debut away at Dortmund and he has grown to become an indispensable member of the team, an with experienced international like Matt Debuchy cast aside.
You can follow him on Twitter – @ElNennyM
Here’s a YouTube video of ElNenny to wet your appetite
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