Who is Mohamed Elneny?

With news rife that Arsenal will complete the signing of FC Basel’s Mohamed El Nenny we decided to speak to Egyptian football experts King Fut and their reporter Omar Khairallah to get the lowdown on the all action midfielder.

Source: transfermarkt

Source: transfermarkt



Who is Mohamed El Nenny and what type of player is he?

El Nenny is a box-to-box midfielder. He’s can play as a defensive midfielder, but he’s at his best when deployed as a box-to-box midfielder.



How would you describe his style of play?  

El Nenny is an engine in the middle of the park. He’s a player who’ll run for the 90 minutes, chasing down every ball, and closing down players. After 7 games in last year’s UCL, he was the player who was covered the most ground. He also has a very good passing range that is accompanied with good vision. El Nenny has a powerful shot from outside the box that can threaten any keeper.



Does this transfer rumour surprise you?

To be honest, yes it is. We’ve heard for a while that he’s monitored by English and Spanish clubs. In the summer he confirmed that he had an offer from Dynamo Kiev, and that there were talks with Fiorentina.  However, Arsenal’s interest, now that they’re looking to win the EPL, surprises me a bit. El Nenny definitely has the potential to play for Arsenal, but it might be a huge jump, moving from Basel to Arsenal directly. Similar to Salah’s to Chelsea; he ended up spending most of the time on the bench, and eventually moved out.



How highly is he rated in Switzerland?

El Nenny is highly rated in Switzerland. He’s been a core part of Basel’s three successive league wins, as well as being a very important player in Basel’s UCL campaign last year, one which saw them advance to the second round on the expense of Liverpool. In 2014, he made the African player of the year shortlist.



How would this transfer be received back in Egypt, are Arsenal a popular club?

Arsenal are blessed with a huge fan base here in Egypt. It’s one of the most popular clubs in the country. People are already going crazy that he’s joining the club, and once the signing is official it’ll be like a national holiday here. You can also check Arsenal’s Facebook page and see all the Arabic comments on every post, only because El Nenny is linked with the club.



How long have Arsenal been scouting him and who else has shown interest in El-Nenny?

I have no idea how long have Arsenal been scouting him for. He had offers from Dynamo Kiev, and he mentioned before that clubs from England, and Spain were following him. He was in talks with Fiorentina last summer, but the move didn’t go through.


[NB: I’ve done some searching around and found that Arsenal were reportedly interested in El Nenny during the summer and were likely to make a bid in the January transfer window]


He’s 23, has he surprised you by his progress to be considered by a club as big as Arsenal?

El Nenny was destined for greatness since the day he moved to Basel. He came up through the youth ranks of Al Ahly, Africa’s biggest club, and the club with the most international titles. He then partnered Mohamed Salah both in Arab Contractors in Egypt, and in Basel. If El Nenny can keep his head down and learn from Arsene Wenger, and the players around him, then he’ll be a great midfielder for Arsenal.



El-Nenny recently said “Great win boys thanks God for my goal tiki taka that;s our style” – how good is his technical and passing ability and would it fit into Arsenal’s style of play?

He definitely has the technical and passing ability that would fit into Arsenal’s style of play. He will also add driving from the center of the park to the edge of the box with the ball, something that he excels in. Arsenal, in my opinion, currently lack a powerful box-to-box midfielder, and El-Nenny will be able to provide that. My only fear is that once Coquelin is back, he might sit on the bench for a long period of time that would decrease his sharpness.



So you think El Nenny is better than Ramsey as a B2B?

 Ramsey is a B2B but he has more flair and more versatile. Sometimes I feel that he can’t cope with physical games (such as the Southampton game), El Nenny however, is more powerful and more energetic than him. He can deputise as a defensive midfielder if called upon. In the NT he’s sometimes asked to play as a DM. However, it takes away from his A” game.


El Nenny is and all action midfielder and has an eye for the long range goal

El Nenny is an all action midfielder and has an eye for the long range goal

Mohamed El Nenny has a 92.4% passing percentage in 5 Europa League games this season

Mohamed El Nenny has a 92.4% passing percentage in 5 Europa League games this season

Many people are speculating given the price and unknown quantity of El Nenny he’ll be a squad player but, [if he does arrive] does he have the potential to become a first XI player at The Emirates?

He definitely has the potential to become a first team player for Arsenal. He’s always eager to learn and improve. The only problem is that sitting on the bench regularly will hinder his development, and thus might affect his future at the club.



We’ve seen several Egyptian footballers play in England, Mido, Zaky, Ghaly, whilst Ahmed Elmohamady currently plays for Hull City and Mohamed Salah was previously at Chelsea (before that FC Basel). Do you think El Nenny can become a real success story in the Premier League?

El Nenny definitely has the mindset and the will to succeed in England. He can become a star in the Premier League because his style suits the league very (much better than he suits his favourite club, Barcelona). Overall, El Nenny has all the qualities needed to succeed in the Premier League, and I’m sure that Arsene Wenger will manage him carefully.


Many thanks to Omar and the guys at King Fut for participating in this Q&A


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