Now that the long-awaited signing of Mohamed Elneny is complete, questions have arisen as to what will happen to older midfielders in the team, with the likes of Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta, and Mathieu Flamini the likely players to suffer from his signing.
Elneny was signed to fill in for Francis Coquelin as the Frenchman is out for a few more months due to injury, and Arsene Wenger rightly realised that the team cannot depend on Flamini to hold down the centre of the midfield for the coming months.
There seems to have been a bit of a sweep of youth movement at Arsenal over the past few months, with teenagers like Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide making the bench for matches routinely while other players are out with injury, and Iwobi even got a start in the FA Cup in attacking midfielder over the more experienced Mikel Arteta.
Elneny, 23-years-old, is certain to displace energy tycoon Flamini in defensive midfield. Additionally, Rosicky has been out for the entire season thus far due to injury, signaling that his body might be breaking down and his career could soon come to a close.
So what is next for these players? Club captain Arteta has been rumoured to be a favourite to join Arsene Wenger’s coaching staff after the season as it looks like Arsenal will not renew his contract, and Flamini will likely sit on the billions he may make from his energy investment. Fan-favorite Rosicky will hopefully get a one-year contract extension so he can still provide the spark to matches that he has given for many years in an Arsenal kit, or, on the other hand, he could go to a league such as MLS or Qatar where respected internationals’ careers go to die peaceful, well-paid deaths. Nonetheless, all three of these players are destined for success in whatever they pursue after their Arsenal days.
Is Elneny just one signing or is he the start of a youth revolution in the squad? There looks to be at least three midfielders leaving, and with Santi Cazorla’s injury that will keep him out for the majority of the season, Arsene Wenger may want to move him as well while the Spaniard still has some value. Since we know Elneny is replacing Flamini, who could replace Arteta and Rosicky?
Iwobi, who has played his youth football as a centre forward, looked well-suited to the no. 10 role in the FA Cup match against Sunderland, so he could be a possibility to replace Rosicky. Arteta, on the other hand, has a slightly more unique style to his play. He is not a box to box midfielder, but neither is he a playmaking midfielder, either. Ideally, Paris Saint-Germain Marco Verratti would replace him, but he will cost a fortune and would have a lot of competition for playing time. Jack Wilshere could fill the role once he is back from injury and next season Gedion Zelalem, currently on loan to Rangers, could help fill Arteta’s shoes if he does leave.
The future is looking generally bright for Arsenal currently, although it remains unclear in some areas. The Elneny signing was much-needed and supporters will be excited to see what he can do on Sunday against Stoke. As long as he is more consistent than Flamini and works at least two-thirds as hard as Coquelin does defensively, Arsene Wenger’s previously unknown new signing will be on the good side of Arsenal’s supporters.