By Walter Broeckx
A warm welcome to Arsenal to Mohamed Naser Elsayed Elneny. that is his name in full. But Mohamed Elneny will do just fine I think. Or would Mo be also good enough? That is how Mohameds that I know are mostly called by their friends. Or Mou but that sounds too much like Mourinho. So no, if I am lazy when typing I will call him Mo.
Who is this player that one month ago most of us, including myself, didn’t know much about. Since the news became more than a rumour (for me from the moment Basel confirmed there was a possible transfer on without mentioning the other club) I went on the search for more information about this man. I might repeat things that other writers have said but will try to add my own specific angle to it.
He was born on 11 July 1992. 11 July is the Flemish National holiday so it must be a good day. Not that this really matters but in fact it also was the day my parents got married a few centuries ago. So it must be a good day to be born on. Coming back to Elneny he is 23 years young. Oh those days of being 23….
Everywhere you look his position is called : defensive midfielder. Is he the beast that we should have signed ages ago? We will find out.
He started his career at El Ahly and with all due respect I have to say I have never heard of it. He then went to El Mokawloon where he made his debut in the first team. He played 35 matches for the Egyptian side. But then came the horrible day on 1st February 2012 in Egyptian football history, with the Port Said stadium tragedy in which 74 people were killed and more than 500 were seriously injured when riots broke out between supporters of both teams involved.
The Egyptian government suspended football completely for more than two years after that. It is needless to say that this was also one of the reasons why the national team of Egypt faded away and slid down the FIFA rankings. One of the reasons we had a bit of trouble signing him in the end.
During the time there was no football in Egypt, FC Basel 93 (usually known as FC Basel or just Basel) asked him to come for a trial and then agreed to sign him on a loan contract from his club. That was in January 2013. So he had almost after a full year without real and proper football!
He won the league with Basel and Basel didn’t hesitate to buy him on a permanent basis. In the three years he has played for Basel he has played 144 matches in which he scored 10 goals. If we just calculate it on a year to year basis that is around 48 matches each year. But he made over 50 appearances in each of the last two seasons. He’s got big stamina it seems.
This also means that he seems to have few injuries during the years. In fact checking his history stats he has only missed 4 matches because of injury for FC Basel. And his injuries were an arm injury and a shoulder injury. I must say this is amazing! But maybe Swiss referees tend to take a stricter view on the laws of the game and therefore few injuries happen to the players.
In three 3 years for Basel he scored 10 goals and that isn’t bad for a defensive midfielder. Most of his goals were shots from outside the penalty area. In his three years he also won three league titles with FC Basel. I don’t know much about Swiss football but is the Swiss league a one team race? So he is another player that knows what it takes to win the league. Can’t have enough of those players around I guess.
But we shouldn’t play him in cup matches. Or at least not play him in the final. Because in his 3 years at FC Basel was in the final 3 consecutive years but didn’t win any of the finals. Did you take note Arsène?
Elneny’s style is described as a runner and tough tackler. Always playing for the team. Always fighting for the team. So he will be Coquelin mark II as that is also the style of Coquelin. Coquelin with goals maybe?
In a final interview he gave to his former club FC Basel he said the following things: “It is a dream come true for me. One of the first matches we will play will be against Barcelona so that is amazing for me. I hope I will be involved in this match.”
He also said he hopes to be able to play his own game for Arsenal as he did for Basel. He realised it was a big step for him and a big dream that came true.
Elneny lived actually in a flat in the grounds of the Basel stadium, as could be seen in the video where he was packing his belongings.
His most important match was for him the match with FC Basel when they won at Fiorentina. The first match Basel won in Italy. He scored a cracking goal in that match with a long distance shot that brought them a 1-2 win in the end.
He said that he was sad and happy at the same time. Sad to leave a fantastic time behind him that he had at FC Basel. He will miss his teammates, his friends, the supporters the whole club that FC Basel was for him and thankful for giving him the chance to play for them. He said he would always remain part of FCB as it is called over there.
FC Basel wished him a great career at Arsenal and said they will follow him and hope he can make it at Arsenal.
At 23 and relatively unknown he is a real Wenger buy. The aaa will not like him as he has no name and no big price tag. So we will have to be careful or they will pick on him from the first misplaced pass.
I think Elneny was brought to fill a gap for the moment, but more than this was brought for the future. With Arteta and Flamini both aging we could do with some young legs. Legs that can run around a lot and can step in for and with Coquelin.
Looking forward to see him play for Arsenal, Welcome Elneny! Welcome Mo!
Two anniversaries from the dim and distant. More appear on the home page each day.
- 15 January 1891: The Derby Post made some seriously disparaging remarks about the journey to Plumstead ahead of Derby County’s away game against Royal Arsenal in the FA Cup. These became the standard comment about Arsenal until 1913 although there is little evidence that the journey was worse than any other suburban rail trip at the time.
- 15 January 1899: Woolwich Arsenal’s half-yearly AGM reports the manager as W.R. Elcoat (ie William Elcoat) not George Elcoat as most Arsenal histories subsequently erroneously stated (until the Arsenal History Society set matters aright).
- 7 reasons Olivier Giroud must ditch Olivier Giroud and other amusing quotes from the press
- Exactly as Untold predicted: Real Mad and Atlético Mad banned from signing players; but Arsenal do make a deal
Insult of the day (for everyone who likes to tell Untold writers what they think)
I had rather be a tick in a sheep than such a valiant ignorance (Troilus and Cressida)