Aston Villa defender Ahmed Elmohamady has revealed that the club refused to sell him at the start of the Premier League season.
The 33-year-old has been a peripheral figure in Dean Smith’s first-team this campaign, making just two appearances in the top-flight and playing just 33 minutes of football.
Speaking on Egyptian TV, the right-back opened up on his current situation at club level, and revealed that despite there being offers to leave, there was only place he wanted to be.
He said: “I had offers at the start of the season but Aston Villa refused to let me go. I also refused because I wanted to stay with the team. Aston Villa is a historic team in England and I’m happy to be part of this club, I feel like I’m at the right place. And whether I play or not fully depend on the coaching staff but I know it will come with time and effort.”
Elmohamady is a veteran presence in the Villa dressing room, and journalist Gregg Evans has gone on record to reveal just how much of an influential figure he is behind the scenes.
Speaking after the club’s win over Crystal Palace earlier in the summer, he said: “Everybody tells me he’s a reliable leader, somebody who you can basically always turn to and you know what you’re going to get from him. Another thing I noticed was that right at the end in those last sort of five or 10 minutes when Villa were really trying to cling on and just dig in deep and keep Crystal Palace back, he was like the chief organiser, he was pulling the defence into different positions.
“He was getting quite rough and tough with (Wilfried) Zaha and not letting him have his own way. And I just thought now I can understand why so many managers rate him and why so many managers have played in regularly.”
However, at 33, and with the fact he’s earning a reported £25k-a-week, Elmohamady just isn’t playing regularly enough this season to warrant Dean Smith blocking offers for him.
Matty Cash’s arrival from Nottingham Forest has given Villa a sure-fire starter in that right-back slot week-in and week-out, and cashing in on Elmohamady instead of just letting him walk away on a free would have been the smart business move. Whilst the Egyptian may be a reliable performer like Evans says, they may rue not taking more of a ruthless call on him.