Talk is intensifying over a new contract for Mohamed Elneny. (Editor: runout is the contract is now agreed)
Alongside the talk about his contract renewal, Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans seems to be a player in our sight.
When it comes to Elneny, I am firmly in the “keep” camp.
I have always liked our curly haired Egyptian king. He is the exact sort of player you need in a 23 man squad.
Not everyone can be a superstar – unless you have Manchester City’s billions. You need players like Elneny who can come in, do a job, rarely let you down, and then won’t complain when back on the bench.
Elneny knows his game. He knows he is not a world beater and does not try to be. He keeps things simple. This is why he sometimes get criticised by Arsenal fans who seem to think every player should be a game changer.
In recent weeks, he has shown he is decent enough cover for the injured Thomas Partey.
In the past, Elneny being cover for Partey has worried me due to being African.
To lose both for up to 6 weeks in January could have spelt disaster. But from next season the African Cup of Nations becomes a summer tournament. So no longer will teams have to take into account losing players in the winter when recruiting.
Elneny might not be an inspiring contract renewal, but it is the right decision.
If we let him go, we probably then need to sign two new central midfielders.
Taking into account we need to invest heavily further up the field this season, a new Elneny deal makes sense.
We need reinforcements in midfield. But I would like to see us go big on someone like Youri Tielemans who would provide a new attacking dimension to our midfield.
If keeping Elneny as cover freed up the cash to splash on Tielemans I would be more than happy.
Tielemans would then come in as the competition for Granit Xhaka on the left hand side of the midfield three.
Partey and Odergaard would be the first name on the teamsheet. A decision would then be made between Tielemans and Xhaka depending on the opponent.
At home to Bournemouth where we want to set up more attacking, Tielemans starts. Away to Liverpool where we want a bit more defensive cover, Xhaka is given the nod.
The bench would also massively be strengthened.
If Tielemans is on the bench, he becomes a creative outlet if we are chasing a game. If Elneny and/or Xhaka is on the bench, they can come on and provide defensive cover if we are trying to close out the game.
£30-40million is the rumoured fee for Tielemans.
Keeping Elneny and signing Tielemans will give us great strength and depth in the middle of the park as we return to European football.