Mohamed Elneny has given his first proper interview since leaving Arsenal to join Besiktas on loan for the season and has revealed that Mesut Ozil told him he should join the Turkish side ‘without thinking’.
Mohamed Elneny played just 379 minutes of league football under Unai Emery and 1,013 in total across all competitions as the Spaniard made it clear the Egyptian wasn’t in his plans.
There was little, however, linking him with a move away over the summer until the last days of the European window when it was suddenly announced he was off to Turkey to join Besiktas.
Arsenal didn’t receive a loan fee for the midfielder but they will cover the majority of his wages. Arsenal currently pay Elneny £50kpw which equates to around £2.6m so it seems like he’s taken a small paycut to move (down from €55kpw to €48kpw/£43.5kpw) unless Arsenal are making up the difference.
Arsenal have, hilariously, set an €18m asking price for Elneny, a price Besiktas will never pay at the end of his loan.
“Mesut and I are very close friends,” Elneny told Milliyet. “We had very good memories there [at Arsenal].
“Of course I talked to him before coming to Besiktas. As a result, Mesut is someone who knows the Turks and Turkey, and I wanted to consult with him.
“Mesut told me to leave without thinking. I called him after I got here.
“‘Besiktas is a very big club, you must come here’ he said.”
Elneny has never been more than a seven-out-of-ten player. Solid, reliable, dull. He was rarely going to do anything spectacularly brilliant, nor stupid.
He was, of course, an £11.25m Arsene Wenger signing, arriving in the winter window of 2016 from FC Basel. Under the Frenchman, he played 72 times, scoring twice and assisting seven times.
Now at Besiktas, for the season at least, he looks happy.
“Elneny is a very strong and active player. He’s a player with a modern style of play and that always gives his best for his team. Elneny is a very tactically-useful player,” Wenger told beIN SPORTS not long after the move went through.
“He is very active inside the pitch and what strikes me the most is how he protects his team.
“His input within the team is great, not in terms of goal creation because he’s not the type to have the final touch before the goal. But because of how helpful he is in the build-up.
“Elneny’s style of play adds protection to the team,” Wenger added.