According to reports from Mirror Football, Marseille are considering a move for Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny, who was on the bench for the Gunners’ opening clash of the Premier League season – a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Their interest comes after Arsenal’s summer shopping has increased the number of midfield options at Unai Emery’s disposal, which would likely affect Elneny’s game-time. But should the north Londoners part with the Egyptian this month or could there be unforeseen repercussions? Football FanCast take a look at the potential consequences of selling Elneny to Marseille…
Ainsley Maitland-Niles started the season at left-back against Manchester City but the 20-year-old’s future surely lays in the middle of the park – he’s not even left-footed or a particularly strong defender.
Parting with Elneny will naturally lead to more opportunities in his preferred position for the England U21, who already looks like he could be a key player for Emery in the years to come.
It’s a similar story with summer signing Matteo Guendouzi. He endured a mixed Premier League debut, highly involved against Manchester City yet also suffering a handful of errors, but the young Frenchman showed plenty of promise and with a consistent run in the side he could be a real success story for the new Arsenal manager.
That said, while selling Elneny will inevitably create more opportunities for youngsters like Guendouzi and Maitland-Niles, it does leave Xhaka as the most experienced player available at the base of Arsenal’s engine room by quite some distance. Lucas Torreira, Guendouzi, Maitland-Niles are all aged 22 or younger.
And although the Switzerland international drew the ire of Arsenal fans for a completely anonymous performance against Manchester City on Sunday, there will be points in the campaign when Emery feels obliged to prefer an older, wiser head to the naive enthusiasm of youth. Perhaps Elneny, while not exactly a popular figure at the Emirates Stadium either, is the lesser of two evils.
It’s the competition no club wants to do well in without actually winning; Europa League adventures always seem to lack genuine excitement and are only remembered fondly if they result in Champions League qualification. But some would argue that’s Arsenal’s likeliest chance of returning to Europe’s top competition next season, simply because the top four race is so competitive.
Depth is of course a key factor for Europa League participation, especially during the first half of the season when its not wholly clear which competition should be prioritised for the best chance of qualifying for the Champions League, and while Elneny may not necessarily make Arsenal’s strongest starting XI, he is an important member of the wider squad.
Selling Elneny could, therefore, significantly reduce Arsenal’s progress in one avenue of Champions League qualification.
Arsenal won’t be able to sign a direct replacement for Elneny this month but selling him now should free up some funds for the January transfer window, especially if the Gunners can shift some other deadwood like Danny Welbeck and Carl Jenkinson. It would appear the Arsenal boss has already spent his whole budget for the summer, so selling could be key to funding further signings in the new year – and they’re clearly needed in north London after that disjointed, clunky performance against Manchester City.
Transfermarkt value Elneny at just £9million but Arsenal can rightly expect more for the Egyptian international after agreeing a new four-year contract in March.
So, Arsenal fans, would you sell Elneny to Marseille or keep the midfielder at the club? Let us know by voting below…