Arsenal’s only January signing so far has been Mohamed Elneny, and if the name is unfamiliar to you it is because like a lot of Arsene Wenger’s purchases he is a virtual unknown. Elneny is a classic Wenger buy, a player who has been bought with an eye to the future and has plenty of potential to justify his relatively low transfer fee (via The Guardian). It is not only the low transfer fee that sets Elneny apart though, but also his attitude and story.
The Egypt international’s rise to European football from his humble beginnings in Egypt tells a tale of remarkable single mindedness and dedication. He is a man for whom football became a part of life at a very young age and has since stayed the same way.
“I remember that my father demanded that I went to bed with the ball,” Elneny said. “He said: ‘You have to connect with the ball.’ He started coaching me when I was three years old. His biggest wish was that I became a professional footballer (via the Guardian).”
Elneny is a tireless runner who works for the team and is quite the team player, all qualities that Wenger looks for in his men. His lack of ego and incredible work ethic will go a long way toward helping Arsenal’s title chase, and his presence adds a much needed body to our midfield.
Moreover, Elneny is a married man and father himself, while also finding the strength to be a devout Muslim – observing Ramadan like everybody else. His family and religion obviously make up a lot of who he is on and off the pitch.
In the 2013/14 season the Egyptian was under huge pressure from his nation’s people to not travel to Israel for Basel’s match with Maccabi Tel Aviv, and yet Elneny put his head down and decided to play his role of footballer and play the match rather than being embroiled in controversy.
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He brings a clean image to the table and has a clear love for the beautiful game, which gives us an insight into the qualities he has a person. Elneny is a classic Wenger signing in that he is essentially a good person with a heart full of passion for the game and the steel of mind that has brought him to Arsenal from the streets of Egypt. Arsenal fans will be hoping that this proves a decisive signing for them in the title race, and that the 23-year-old can have an impact for years to come.