Arsene Wenger says Mohamed Elneny ‘works hard and is generous’ and confirmed that he turned down interest from clubs eager to sign the 25-year-old last summer.
The Egypt international, who was recently rewarded with a new contract, revealed this week that he never gave up hope of establishing himself as a regular at the Emirates even though he’d fallen down the midfield pecking order.
He’s gone on to make 26 appearances this term demonstrating a valuable versatility in his ability to float between defensive and attacking duties.
Speaking after Thursday’s 2-2 draw with CSKA Moscow, in which Elneny registered a brace of assists, Wenger touched on why he wanted to keep the former-Basel midfielder.
“He a super-popular player and everybody inside the club loves him,” he told Arsenal.com.
“But he’s not only loved, he is also a very good player and he showed that in Moscow.
“I never wanted him to leave, I always wanted him to stay. I must say that we had demands for him but he always wanted to stay too.
“In the second half in Moscow he played in defence and then afterwards, when he moved back into the middle of the park, he gave assists. He works hard and is generous. Overall, I think he did very well.”
Thursday’s performance capped off a good week for the Egyptian who also saw his red card against Southampton overturned by the FA. The decision means Mo will be able for the next three Premier League games.
“I’m very happy [about the red card decision] because I think it was a wise decision and he will be available for Newcastle,” added Wenger.