‘I was told to leave Arsenal years ago – I’m now the only Arsene Wenger signing left’

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger before the Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on August 27, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

‘I was told to leave Arsenal years ago – I’m now the only Arsene Wenger signing left’

Managers have come and gone while Arsenal have sought to revive their glory days at the Emirates Stadium, but one transfer has stood the test of time since the Arsene Wenger days

Amid the sea of transfers to come and go through Arsenal over the past decade, only one has withstood the torrential conditions.

Mohamed Elneny has sported the Gunners colours under three different managers: Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery, and current gaffer Mikel Arteta. He’s been a polarising figure throughout his tenure, with Wenger and Arteta being staunch supporters, unlike Emery.

The Spaniard’s 18-month reign in north London produced limited opportunities for Elneny, with the ex-Basel star receiving candid advice from Emery to seek greener pastures in summer 2019. The Aston Villa incumbent was transparent about what he believed was best for both Elneny and defender Shkodran Mustafi, who left north London in 2021, per the Mirror.

Speaking about the pair in 2019, Emery said: “Last year with Mustafi and Mo, when they didn’t play they weren’t happy. I spoke with them a lot of times last year and in pre-season, and I think it is positive for them to leave and sign for another team where they can be protagonists, be happy and continue their careers.

“They are very big players but for one circumstance or another, they are going to have fewer chances to show their capacity or to be happy with us and the minutes they play in matches. But they know the situation and really, really I am wishing the best for them and I think now the best for them is to be protagonists in another team, to sign and get another challenge with another team.”

Reflecting on these comments almost five years later, it’s remarkable Elneny is still at the Emirates after being dismissed by his former manager. However, that tenure will finally reach its close as the Egyptian prepares for his release at the end of this season.

“Gooners, I’m here today to send you a message, to say goodbye and thank you for everything you’ve done for me,” he recently announced. “The love, the support and the kindness. I’m really going to miss you so much and you’ll be in my heart forever.














“I wanted to say how much I love you and how much you mean to me. I will never forget the way you supported me. I’m going to see you on Sunday at the Emirates to say goodbye face to face, see you then.”

The narrative has changed significantly under Arteta. The current Arsenal boss has frequently expressed his admiration for the 31-year-old Elneny, with whom he shared a dressing room as a player for half a season.

Arteta was full of praise for Elneny towards the end of the 2021/22 campaign, stating: “I have always said that for me he’s one of the most important players in the squad. For what he does when you give him the chance to play and for the things that he does when he doesn’t play. He’s a phenomenal person and a great footballer that sometimes doesn’t get the credit he deserves.”

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Arteta, having played alongside and managed Elneny, is arguably the best person to comment on the midfielder out of himself, Emery, and Wenger.

That’s not to say Arsenal legend Wenger didn’t share a similar perspective. One year after stepping down as manager, the Frenchman described Elneny as a “modern-day midfielder” with “great technique.”

Elneny will leave the Emirates on a free transfer next month having scored six goals in 161 appearances for the club. He has an FA Cup and two Community Shields to show for his efforts, along with runner-up finishes in the Europa League and Carabao Cup.