Mohamed Elneny’s contract extension with Arsenal was announced last week. The Egyptian signed a new contract that would keep at the club until 2022. It would be fair to say though, that this didn’t really set too many hearts racing. The 25 year-old hasn’t been a regular in the starting XI at the Emirates since joining from Basel in 2016, and many supporters believe that he isn’t good enough to be one of the main men.
Central midfield is a cause for concern right now at Arsenal. Reports today, as this one in The Guardian have stated that Jack Wilshere’s future at the club isn’t a given. The Englishman has returned to the team this season after a lengthy injury layoff and subsequent loan spell at Bournemouth. While he hasn’t been consistently brilliant, he has been one of the very few to show fight and determination in a team that has otherwise appeared toothless in recent games. Wilshere’s current contract with the club expires in the coming summer, and no new deal is on the table. Arsenal are reportedly not willing to offer anything more than £80,000-per week for the 26 year-old, and it is unsure whether he will accept that or not.
Another central midfielder whose future at the club is in doubt is Aaron Ramsey, the longest-serving player at the club at the moment. The Welshman, who has made over 300 appearances for the club in all competitions, has still not signed an extension on his deal which expires in the summer of 2019. According to Metro, newly-appointed head of recruitment Sven Milinstat is already bracing for Ramsey’s exit, along with that of Wilshere. The former Borussia Dortmund scout is set to prioritise the midfield and the defence at the club, following the signings of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January to add to the attacking options. The report states that Arsenal could be in the market for Schalke midfielder Max Meyer in the summer.
The Gunners will only be left with Granit Xhaka and Elneny, if both Wilshere and Ramsey leave the club. Santi Cazorla, who is arguably their best central midfielder, has seen his career tragically fall away in the last couple of seasons due to injury. Another midfielder who was expected to have a long career at the club was Francis Coquelin. After a brilliant second half to the 2014/15 season, a knee ligament injury early next season led to a prolonged layoff. He never recaptured his previous form on his return though, and was sold to Valencia last summer.
The days of Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit are long gone, and nothing can change that. Arsenal have been criticized for a lack of leaders for almost a decade now, and they could now be set to lose two of their most passionate players in Wilshere and Ramsey. It is imperative that they take central midfield as a priority in the summer, and sign replacements who are not just good players, but also big characters in the dressing room. They are slowly slipping further and further behind the best teams in the Premier League, and if they continue to let such important players leave, things will only go further downhill.
Robin is a digital marketing expert and he has written this article on behalf of Boxofficeevents.com which is an authorized dealer in UK for Arsenal football tickets.