Mohamed Elneny has spoken about his move from Basel to Arsenal, explaining how he wanted a move to a league where there were more challenges.
In Switzerland, Basel is the biggest team. They win the League more or less every single season (11 times in the last 15 years) and it appears Elneny got bored of the predictability. Speaking to Arsenal Player recently, the Egyptian opened up about his desire to play in a different league in order to face new challenges.
“It would have been very hard to move from Egypt to England straight away, especially to a big club like Arsenal,” he said.
“My time in Switzerland helped me a lot though.
“I wanted to take the step and play outside Egypt, given how I see football being played abroad. I believed that I could play abroad, so when it happened I was very happy because my dream started to become true. I was also pleased that I could take another step forward in my career.
“You have to change your mentality [when you move countries] to think like successful people. This is the mentality I have always wanted to achieve in my life.
“There weren’t any big challenges because Basel is the biggest club in Switzerland. Everyone was very professional and they had solutions so there wasn’t any problems nor challenges that could face any player. Whenever I needed anything they helped me.
“I learned how to be punctual. Of course in Egypt we are [punctual], but there are small details we don’t pay attention to which people outside Egypt do pay attention to. Also, I learned a lot about how to play in Europe and in the Champions League. I did all of this in Switzerland and then over here, it’s just a case of applying what I learned.
“When I came to Arsenal, there were different ideas. If you went somewhere thinking you know everything, then you’ll never learn. I gain experience and I always learn from people here because they are successful. Arsenal are one of the biggest five clubs in the world so they’re definitely successful people. You have to listen to everyone here to gain their experience.”
After making 11 Premier League appearances for the Gunners this season, one of which was a defeat and five were draws, I’m sure the former Basel man is up to speed with the competitivity of English football.
Elneny has been solid since signing for us in January. He’s made is clear how happy he is to be playing for Arsenal and when he’s featured, such as his performance against Barcelona, he’s been impressive. Although all he does is practically the minimum expected from a holding midfielder, his passing ability isn’t something we’ve had at the club for a while and, therefore, he’s shown to be a fantastic addition to the squad.
He’s only 23, which means we’ve only seen the start of what he can do.