Wenger likes Elneny flexibility + Gabriel, Wilshere & Santi updates

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Arsene Wenger says Mohamed Elneny proved he has what it takes to help Arsenal out at centre-back having impressed in the role during Arsenal’s pre-season.

Unable to call on Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Gabriel and Calum Chambers, the boss asked the Egypt international to make up the numbers in the Gunners three-man defence for matches in Australia and China.

While there’s no suggestion the midfielder will be moved into defence on a permanent basis, Wenger liked what he saw from ever-willing 25-year-old.

“Elneny is a player who has a fantastic mentality and attitude, and his main target is to help the team,” he told Arsenal Player. “When he plays there [as a centre-back], of course he does extremely well.

“Of course [he needs to learn the defensive side], but I always felt that a good central midfielder can be a good centre back. With the fact of course that when you’re playing in the back four you have to be decisive in the challenges, you have a bit more flexibility in the middle of a back three. He can do that.

“Overall on tour, I played players like Elneny in a back three and he coped very well. Maitland-Niles sometimes played at centre back as well, even in the big games against Chelsea.”

Assuming there are no injuries there’s a chance Arsenal could start the season with Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal in the centre of defence with Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac on the flanks.

Shkodran Mustafi and Rob Holding will provide added competition once they’ve done a couple of weeks of fitness work. A decision is yet to be taken over the future of Calum Chambers who could be allowed to leave, while Gabriel is still sidelined with the injury picked up on the final day of the Premier League season.

“I would say that Gabriel is still a few weeks away because he has an inflammation of his bone,” said of the Brazilian.

The boss also had an update on a couple of other long-term absentees.

“Jack Wilshere is close to coming back to training. Santi Cazorla, it is difficult to set a definite date but he is getting better every day. Overall those are the main injuries we have. Everyone else is back to fitness.”

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70 Comments on "Wenger likes Elneny flexibility + Gabriel, Wilshere & Santi updates"

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santi\'s step-ladder

isn’t kos suspended for the opening game?

Anze

koscielny is suspended no?

Drew

For first game yes. Interesting issue on who to play in back three first game then I guess. Maybe elneny?

Martin

For first 2 games. Community Shield doesn’t count.

GunnerDareMacedonia

yes it counts

Original Paul

Result!

Martin

No it doesn’t. It’s counted as a friendly. Will miss first 2 Premiership matches

Martin

Why down thumbs for stating the truth ?

dr Strange

I like Elneny. He´s a great squadplayer and better than Coq so he should, and I hope, he will play more in the coming season.

steven

Don’t know why you have so many thumbs down?

Brandon Burton

I like Elneny too, worth keeping in the squad especially with his new found CB flexibility. I think in midfield as backup for Xhaka, Coquelin is a better option – we shouldn’t write him off so easily.
If we can upgrade Elneny or Wilshere with Seri or another strong Number 8, I think we’ll have a strong midfield line up
If we lost them both but retained the talents of Ox and managed to land Lemar I’d consider that a successful window

Pavan

Well if David Luiz can do it…..

Arsensei

Lovely attitude on the lad as well. Loves it here. Respects the fact that he’s at a big club and can’t be playing every game. Always smiling.

MaidenMatt

Koscielny is suspended, so a possible back 3 of Elneny, Per and Nacho? Could be dangerous in the opening game with Leicester having plenty of pace but as we have seen with Per in the cup you don’t always need pace when you’ve an excellent football mind. Happy enough with how things are shaping up but I really do feel that we need another central midfielder with our current injuries there, possible departures and the inevitable injuries that we will get during the season. We are well stocked generally but we need to start moving on players like debuchy, jenko, Perez and gibbs, and I hate to say it but it looks like Wilshere is off too, though I really want to keep him because when fit he is as close a central midfielder we have to Santi.

Bon Jello

Monaco have sold a decent fullback (soon to be two), a quality attacking midfielder and an integral central midfielder. They’ve suggested that they won’t reinvest much money into replacements, so the Lemar deal could be very difficult.
BUT, and forgive me for living in a perfect dream land, the players you’ve mentioned, in particular Gibbs, Debuchy and Wilshere, could all three be used towards the Lemar deal? I feel all three could work very well for whats left of the Monaco squad, both positionally and experience wise, and they all have points to prove. Throw in a buy-back clause on Jack and it could be a deal that suits all…? Just a thought anyway.

tdl

Delusional.

Bon Jello

It was just a thought, an idea to create topics to discuss. In many ways how a conversation works, people make a suggestion, others agree/disagree… I’m fully aware it’s a highly unlikely scenario, I blatantly admit to this. It’s highly improbable but in football there is little that’s impossible. Deals such as the one I’ve mentioned are very rare, very, but by no means destined to never occur.

This site has so many people in the comments who over-react to mere suggestions, again and again… sadly this is the internet era we live in. Week in, week out people post suggestions, humble opinions, often reasoning, putting in detail. Then people thumb up/thumb down, agree/disagree, which is all fine, and can often create great comment threads. But then there’s those who never comment on anything (or simply use a different username) except to offer little more than insults or crass one word/two word replies.
So many users on this site are put off commenting by these silly little remarks, people who have a lot of love for the club, a lot of interesting albeit seemingly unorthodox ideas of how things could be done. No, not everyone will agree, but instead of jumping on each other, remember, we all love our club. So maybe, just maybe, our shared respect for the club, the team, could bring about a little more willingness to accept differing opinions, to not overact with each other on issues we disagree on, to see a suggestion as just what it is, a suggestion. Nobody is forcing anyone to believe what they think, so don’t treat words like poison just because they aren’t yours, or share your ideas.

Honestly, why these boards have to turn toxic so often, when we’ve all got such love for the same club, is beyond me.

Full respect to all my Gooner brothers and sisters, thumbs down await me no doubt, but it’s a sunny day outside so I couldnt care less to be honest. Just hope you all remember we’re all on the same side 😊

bfollinprm

i do think Monaco are one likely suitor for Gibbs. The rest of this is crazy.

Mpls

Swaps and ‘makeweight’ deals are incredibly rare these days. Monaco would have to agree and all three of the others as well.

Loose_Cannon

Not sure why this got downvotes, you’re spot on. Swaps are really rare nowadays.

Rich

If Arsene thinks Lacazette and Kolasniac are enough to compete for the title? then he’s got it horribly wrong again.
If he comes back with the same pampered players who’ve been letting him down time and again? Then expect another season of frustration.
When you hear him talking about tapping up and asking about player availability it’s clear to see why we struggle getting in players.
Arsene:
“Is player “X’ for sale this summer?’
Said Club:
“No we have no wish to sell Player “x’
Arsene:
“Ok, I’m sorry to bother you’
And before you all start abusing me read this…
http://news.arseblog.com/2017/07/wenger-we-must-fight-tapping-up-but-i-dont-know-how/

Also remember similar comments on trying to sign Martial.

Someone needs to explain to Arsene how this works, because City and Chelsea have both managed to get players out of Monaco this summer.

Morals, values and ethics and just restrictions and restrictions are lost possibilities.
Until we get a ruthless leader whether it be manager? Or new owner? We’ll just continue to dilly and dally and dance around the fringes of elite mediocrity

Little Mozart\'s Require in Dm
Little Mozart\'s Require in Dm

“Morals, values and ethics and just restrictions and restrictions are lost possibilities.”

This is not pleasant reading. Can’t wait to have real football back.

bfollinprm

Wenger the “nice guy” got first dibs at a long sit-down with M’bappé, and words around his camp are that Arsenal is basically the only potential option other than the preferred Real Madrid.

It definitely does pay to have ethics in transfer dealings, because the fraternity of players, agents, and clubs is a small world.

Rich

How’s that worked out for us?
Him and his family might like Arsenal? And like Arsene Wenger and respect him.
But ultimately he’ll end up with the supermodel, I think her names Real Madrid.

Mpls

Your lead statement is a false argument so I didn’t need to read anything after. The club is still working on transfers so obviously they think there is need for more.

Rich

We’ve heard this all before.
The club couldn’t get Mbappe, so we sign Lacazette who won’t be that much of an improvement.
We’ve signed a left back on a free.
We’ll sell a few to balance the books.
And we’ll say we tried but the market was difficult.

pedro

I don’t understand what’s wrong with signing a player “on a free”, strikes me as actually rather good business but then we’re in Kyle Walker = £50,000,000.00 plus wages world so what do I know.

Rich

Nothing wrong with signing a player on a free.
I like the initial look of him, he looks fast and aggressive, hopefully he’ll turn out to be a gem and Be an instant improvement on our first eleven.
But with Arsenal I’m always skeptical…
Are we genuinely signing the best left back that we can? Or are we trying to be cute? And going for the easier/cheaper option?
I love Arsenal and always will, but we’ve got a seriously strained relationship.
I’ve got a horrible feeling this season will be just more of the same, mainly because we have the same set of players the same manager and the same owner/board who usually let us down.

I\'m Professor Ignorance, on this subject
I\'m Professor Ignorance, on this subject

This attitude is that of wanting to make a quick buck, put one over on their neighbor, and say sorry pal but you lose and I win. This is how being successful might work in the imagination of Ayn Rand or Donald Trump, but it’s critically lacking in long term perspective (and also other things). There’s different ways to make deals. One way is Trump’s, where the formula is “I have all the power and you have none, so bow to my will”, and that works great on TV shows where you are literally the guy with all the power. Plays great with people who want to put the boot to everyone that’s ever failed to acknowledge their brilliance.

Most negotiations don’t have one party holding all the cards, though. This is where all that wussy stuff, like empathy for your fellow man, comes in handy. Wenger is showing respect to the people he wants to deal with. This is because he isn’t just thinking about “I want Mbappe”, but rather because he’s thinking, “deals don’t always work out, but that doesn’t mean something can’t happen in the future.” He shows loyalty to people even when others might cut the rope. He asks for permission while others are fine with barging in. Maybe it does mean he misses out on something once in a while, but in the long run it builds up a reputation, one that says he can be trusted, that he’s polite, respectful, and willing to make things work even when its not the most convenient thing for him. When a large part of your job is dealing with people who barely know you, a reputation for being a decent human being is worth quite a bit – millions if the subject is football.

So go ahead and criticize ethical behavior. Being an ass works great if you can just keep meeting unsuspecting dupes, and that works great for lots of anonymous citizens world over, but once there’s nowhere to hide, that sort of reputation is a huge hindrance at exactly the point where the stakes are getting highest. You’ll note that Conte’s cost his team millions (& a cartoon villian striker) with a bit of jerkishness, and that Mourinho’s years of vile behavior have continually worsened his ability to get the best out of his players. People aren’t generally omnipotent enough to know what their own best interest is at all times, so rather than rail against the evils of kindness and altruism, folks try to do right by others in the hopes that the favor will be returned. Funnily enough, that’s managed to get the human race through tens of thousands of years of history, while people being sociopaths has generally resulted in the times that our history has been at its worst.

Rant over, apologies if you felt your time was wasted, but UGH. SERIOUSLY.

GoonerNoon

Surely Holding or Chambers start in the back 3 against Leicester, how unfit can you get in 3 weeks

eduardo

Holding and Chambers have been training all week, so will have 3 weeks of prep done for season opener, both likely to get game time this weekend, and then cs, Mustafi will be back in training on Sunday,(as will Alexis), so he will have 12 days of prep for season opener.

1254

Wilshire could have been our perfect Santo Carzola’s replacement but he is always injured… So let him just go…

arsepedant

* Wilshere
* Santi
* Cazorla

And that’s just the spelling errors in your comment.

line

for the championship = we need to get Seri _ Lemar and top class central defender(Koscielny _ Mustafi)

Voldermort

Its not going to happen neither is the title with what we have as it stands.

Mpls

If I’m not mistaken there is a month of window left. Man, people can’t wait to get the pissing and moaning started.

Voldermort

Heard it all before thats why mpls.its up thier with judge him at end of season etc etc
Been here so many times. This player short that player short.

JJ\'s Bender

Two types of people Mpls: Optimist like you and I, and pessimists like Voldy

Don’t let it get you down man

Voldermort

For pessimist read realist

Rectum_Spectrum

And new ipads and one those fleecy gap hoodies each. Title in the bag.

Bon Jello

I have thought for a while we’ve been overlooking CB far too often. Holding was a diamond in the rough, great buy. Chambers, has potential to play on the right of a back 3, but for him and us I think it’d be wise to loan him to a midtable team (or sell, including a good buy-back agreement? Palace? Southampton return?), as he’s shown for England what regular game time and having the opportunity to lead can do for him. Bielik looks to be coming along nicely, but still a season away.
Beyond that Per is class, but by his own admission can’t play more than once a week, so too Koscielny, and neither are young. Monreal has shown excellent ability in adapting to CB but I do fear a return to Spain next summer. Gabriel and Mustafi(still dont know why we didn’t go for VdV last summer for the same price), for me, aren’t quite at the standard where a title challenging team needs them to be. As such I’d be willing to accept offers on one or the other, or maybe even both. I just feel if we don’t add a truly top tier CB this summer, it’ll be very difficult next summer. Every Feb-April we complain about our disastrous defence, then we patch it up by May and naively assume it’ll carry us into the next season.
Maybe this time we should act early?

bfollinprm

We have Per, Kos, Nacho, Gabriel, Holding, Shkodran, Callum, and in a pinch Mohamed and apparently Ainsley.

You do realize you can only carry 25 players into a season, right? How many of those should be defenders?

Bon Jello

Yes clearly, I’m just saying we may only get one more season from Per and Nacho. Kos and Per will struggle to play more than one game a week (in a Europa season). Chambers might not shine if he’s forever the understudy. Personally, I don’t think relying on Gabriel and Mustafi will help in a title challenge. Holding looks to be thriving at Arsenal. Apparently Kolasinic is capable of CB in a back 3 too, I’m aware of the options.
I’m merely speculating that perhaps a slight change in our defence, a couple outs and one in, may strenthen the quality of our defence rather than relying on quantity, especially at this moment in time.

@bfollinprm there’s little need in being condescending, I’m aware of the squad capacity rules (and that the 25 doesn’t include those under a certain age), I’ve clearly stated I’d be open to allowing two of those defenders you’ve listed to leave for a fee we could reinvest in a higher quality CB. For what it’s worth I’m not having a go at the club, or the players, or the manager or whatever. Simply trying to work a solution for the repeated turn of year antics which repeatedly see us drop points between Feb and April, points that always cost us a title-challenge. Between those three months, when games are thick and fast, this is when we rotate defence and whilst our quantity may be clear, our quality so often stifles us in this period. This upcoming season, above all, could see the largest amount of games yet for our squad, and there could be big games in any or all the competition.
If we stay as we are I’m not going to be dissapointed, it’s merely a suggestion in a conversation.

Sean Williams

Why will Arsenal never even have a remote chance of winning the league? Because there is no possible way if you have Elneny, Coquelin, Gabriel or Walcott playing for us. They are not good enough. So I see last season repeating itself like all the other groundhog days/years we have had. If by some stroke of good fortune Wenger wakes up and gets Jean Michael Seri and Riyad Mahrez then we may have upped our squad nearly enough. But with City, United, Chelsea and even Liverpool looking way stronger than us Wenger seems to be going back to type. So sad to see us fall further and further behind. Wake Arsene Wenger, us supporters deserve to feel we have a chance of winning the Premier League.

Third Plebeian

We have so many good but not great players in our current central midfield setup.

Rich

I’d Santi was fit? I’d certainly class him as a great player
Different class and an absolute joy to watch

Sanchez\' favourite dog
Sanchez\' favourite dog

Santi is differently great, but sadly not in our midfield setup right now or in the foreseeable future…

Anonymarse

I am starting to think that we’re not going to get anybody else.

Hard to believe that is what Wenger wants.

Anonymarse

CB would not be my priority, we have plenty of them and they’re all pretty good

bfollinprm

There are only 3-4 great central midfielders in the entire Premier league.

Say Real or Barca were going shopping, and wanted an engine-room guy. Who’d they grab? Pogba, probably, though mostly on reputation and potential than on truly inspired United performances. Kanté of the back of the last 2 seasons for sure. After that it’s pretty murky. Ramsey, Dembele, Herrera, Henderson could all claim the next spot, and Xhaka isn’t far behind that group, and probably hasn’t bedded into the league fully yet.

Would I like a Kanté? Sure, but it’s not critical to win the PL. Our guys are more than capable of hanging with the best.

viegunner

if blogs tends to be wrong about one thing it’s usually the amount of players we get off during summer. no offense, of course.

nacho man

whats a rough time frame for the mighty santi to return??
any ballpark idea?

bfollinprm

It’s hard to tell with a 33 yr old, from personal experience I can tell you there’s a lot less strain your body can take. Rebuilding strength will be a struggle.

Ben

Why would you try to mold Elneny into a CB, even if he just plays a few games there? Just get a proper backup CB Arsène. Geez…..

Merlin\'s Panini

We have like a billion centre backs. We don’t need another one.
It’s just because Holding and Chambers were away with the summer internationals that he had to play. If we keep all six first team centre backs on the books it would be pointless to buy more.

bfollinprm

He’s cross-training. I mean, isn’t everyone complaining about our midfielders not knowing how to defend? And then there are complaints when they get a turnout in defense during the preseason.

Morten

Why buy a new would class CB when you can use a mediocre midfielder instead?

bfollinprm

“Hello. Hummels? It’s Arsene. I know you’re at Bayern and might be busy right now, but we’re short a CB for an all-important preseason tourney in Australia because of international competition. Would you be interested in joining the squad? Steve said he’d be happy to bunk with you.”

Flashmob

Out of the last 6 games when Oxlade-Chamberlain was fit, Wenger picked him ahead of Bellerin as a wing-back…
(Rightly so… IMO)

Flashmob

…5 times… out of the last 6

PFo

Yes, agree, but this site loves em some Hector, so…

Mpls

Hector’s form was still suffering following the braining he got from that Chelsea fuck, and Ox was up for it. These things are all situational, not flat out preferences in a vacuum.

Richard Patrick

I’ve got a funny feeling about Elneny this season. I think he look hungry and Arsene coming out and labelling him squad player might just give him that push. Watch this space but I think Elneny might surprise everyone this season.

Gordy

I didn’t like the “Everybody Hates Ozil” bit. I enjoy his play more than anyone else’s. Alexis is good fun and you forgive all the times he gives the ball away but Ozil is the closest we’ve had to a Bergkamp since.

Original Paul

Elneny in!

Spanish Gooner

I have been worried about the CAB situation for a while – Mertesacker and Holding were excellent in the final, true, but they didn’t play 10 league games between them last year, can we rely on them for the whole season? Add to that Koscielny’s dodgy Achilles, Gabriel’s struggles and Elneny at CB looks like it could become a permanent fixture

Samgunz

Bielik should start

GunnerYY

Hmm, i personally think we need to sign a CB, with Per retires next season and it looks like we’ll sell Chambers/Gabriel, we need to sign CB, probably VVD because he is available right now.
Rather than gambling to change DM to CB, it’s far better we sign a CB, we are in transfer windows right now, no need to do this role changing, if we need CB sign CB then, if we need DM, sign a DM then.

santori

“Flexibility” in Wenger speak means mediocrity. Jack of all trade master of none.

I said before Elneny’s chief asset is he is content with coming off the bench and staying on the bench for long periods. This is one reason we bought him.

He was OK at Cback (but remember the opposition invoved and it was pre-season)

In front of him is Koscielny, Mustafi, Per for starters.

I don’t see much point in Elneny beyond making up numbers.

I think Wenger will be dodging the need to bring in genuine capability in midfield if he is again penny-wise pound foolish and feels he can cobble something together with injury prone players like Jack and Santi, out of position converts like the Ox and mediocre tradesmen like Elneny.

We need a capability upgrade in midfield that can offer us an option to go 4-2-3-1.

To me, we have replicated the long passing skill of Santi in Granit. There may be reason to back this up (which is maybe why there is some interest in Lemar or Seri…not saying these are confirmed in anyways)

We have a box to box in Ramsey. IMO Iwobi could be a potential candidate as well for central midfield given his technical skills on the ball, strength and vision for the through pass. BUT again it will take a bit of bedding in.

Coquelin offers a bit of bite but clearly thrives best with someone positionally excellent like Santi.

What we do need is someone who can carry the ball up the middle (like Santi, Diaby to some extent Jack).

A bit of strength and ability to dribble/retain possession will also be very useful.

Elneny is not this player.

santori

Relying on Jack and Santi to stay fit is again a fools errant.

We’ve paid the price last two seasons banking on Santi’s fitness.

Like Rosicky before him a mecurial player if when fit but we need more concrete and realistic option.

Anything-else is a bonus.

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