Mohamed Elneny has declared he wants to stay at Arsenal should he be given the chance to stay in north London beyond the season.

The Egypt international has spent six-and-a-half years with the Gunners and is enjoying a renaissance in Mikel Arteta’s team, but that is set to end in the summer with his contract expiring.

Elneny was been a surprise selection in recent games, but has not disappointed

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Elneny was been a surprise selection in recent games, but has not disappointed

The 29-year-old has made just six starts all season with three of those coming in the Carabao Cup.

He has been a surprise selection over recent games, but strong performances in big wins over Chelsea and Manchester United may force Arsenal into rethinking their plans for him.

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 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.

Elneny started in the matches against Chelsea and Man United

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Elneny started in the matches against Chelsea and Man United

“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 the midfielder 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.

“[Arteta] didn’t say anything [to persuade Elneny to stay in January],” added the player.

“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.

Elneny has the backing of Arteta and is keen to stay at Arsenal

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Elneny has the backing of Arteta and is keen to stay at Arsenal

“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.”

It’s not just Arteta that has been full of praise for Elneny. Gunners legend Ian Wright hailed the midfielder following his performances against Chelsea and Manchester United.

He told Match of the Day: “Xhaka was magnificent, Odegaard did his stuff again, but Elneny – for someone that last played before Chelsea was in December – he came in today…dependable, professional, he never lets the team down.

Arteta has put his faith in Elneny in crucial games, and it has paid off

AFP

Arteta has put his faith in Elneny in crucial games, and it has paid off

“He had the most passes today and the most interceptions, he just gets himself in the right position. He’s the kind of player, he wants to pass forward.

“He’s somebody who kept the ball going and kept Arsenal going. He’s the kind of player – and he may leave – you come in when you haven’t played for so long and he’s been magnificent.”

talkSPORT pundit Danny Murphy also praised the Egypt international, telling White and Jordan: “He [Arteta] has brought Elneny out of the blue and he has done great.

“I am actually watching his performance and thinking, why has he not played more games? Why has he been left out? Because he has done really well.”

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