The Arsenal supporters were absolutely delighted in the Transfer Tavern last night after their side secured their place in the quarter-final of the Europa League by recording a 5-1 aggregate victory over AC Milan.
Arsene Wenger’s side faced an awkward looking fixture against the Rossoneri last night after they clinched a 2-0 victory at the San Siro just a week earlier, but they dealt with their second-leg tie in a professional manner and comfortably sealed their place in the next round of the competition. Next up for Arsenal is a tricky looking tie against CSKA Moscow who qualified for the quarter-final after they knocked out French giants Lyon in the last-sixteen.
Arsenal’s progress into the next round arrives as welcome relief following a dark period for the club which served to cast Wenger’s future into serious doubt once more. Even if Wenger manages to lead his side to victory in the Europa League this season, it seems inevitable that his future will at least be under thorough consideration by the clubs owners once the campaign reaches its conclusion.
The likes of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere will also have to consider their future at the end of the season as their contracts run closer to expiring. The resident Gunners propping up our bar are desperately hoping that the club will be able to secure the long-term future of both of the aforementioned players, however, the latest reports from The Daily Mirror suggest Arsenal are set to offer a different midfielder a new contract, namely Mohamed Elneny.
So far this season, Elneny has been used rather sporadically in the first-team by Wenger, as he has only made 9 appearances in the Premier League, although he has been a regular starter within cup competitions. His form for The Gunners has been nothing to write home about, and at 25-year-old it’s difficult to argue he has plenty of improving left to do.
With that to consider, Arsenal’s interest in offering him a new contract when he still has two years remaining on his current deal seems rather perplexing, especially when they have more pressing issues to deal with concerning Ramsey and Wilshere’s contract situations. Although it’s not something the supporters will want to admit, Arsenal’s interest in offering Elneny a new contract illuminates the lack of ambition that currently clouds the club which will continue to deter their progress until they alter their long-term strategy.
Wenger’s legacy at the club owes a great debt to players such as Patrick Viera who bossed Arsenal’s midfield for many years under his leadership, but the club will never return to their golden era of the early 2000s if they continue to put their faith in players such as Elneny, who are clearly below the grade which is required to compete for the Premier League title.