Mohamed Elneny has revealed he would sign a new contract at Arsenal even with no guarantees of first-team football.
The Egypt midfielder’s current deal expires at the end of the season and he looked all set for the Emirates Stadium exit door after six and a half years.
However, an unexpected recall has seen the 29-year-old shine in vital wins over Chelsea and Manchester United which have revitalised Arsenal’s quest for a top-four Premier League finish.
His selection at Stamford Bridge was his first club appearance since December and he has made just six starts all season – including three in the Carabao Cup.
But Elneny is the longest-serving Arsenal player currently at the club and is keen to extend his association with the Gunners, even if he continues to be a bit-part player under Mikel Arteta.
Asked if he would be happy to stay even if not playing, the former Basel man replied: “Of course.
“I always love a challenge and give 100 per cent all the time. I don’t decide who plays but I keep going in training to show how good I am and to make him play me.
“If I don’t play I keep going until I get my chance.
“If Arsenal say ‘we want you’ I don’t think about leaving. It’s my family for six years. I love this club.”
Elneny spent the 2019/20 season on loan at Besiktas and a return to Turkey was on the cards in January, only for Arteta to convince Elneny to stay put.
The Arsenal boss hailed him as “one of the most important players in the squad” ahead of the victory over United and Elneny is pleased with the relationship he has with Arteta.
“He didn’t say anything (to persuade Elneny to stay in January),” he added.
“He just trusts me and he put me in the big games. And I have to thank him for that.
“I will keep going and not think about anything else, just focus on my performances to help the team reach our goal. The contract and stuff, I’m just waiting for the club to decide what they want.
“Mikel is always really close to all the players. We always talk together and he gives us confidence all the time.
“He gives us the chance to play games and the most important thing is that he trusts his players.
“I’m really happy to be one of the starting XI for these two games. I gave everything in training to be one of the starting XI every game and I got my chance and I think I did well. Most importantly, we won the two games.”
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