Mohamed Elneny could not hide his delight at signing a new contract with the Gunners, and says he now wants to play out the rest of his career at the club.
The Egyptian midfielder showed his worth to the squad again at the end of the season, and has been rewarded for his fine displays with a new deal.
Having signed in January 2016, Elneny is one of the longest-serving players at the club, and he tells us he’s not ready for the love affair to end yet.
“I feel like when you play in one of the biggest teams in the world and you have an amazing family and the fans are really amazing as well – they make me feel special,” he said after extending his contract on Wednesday.
“You feel like you are special for this club and this club is special for you. Of course, I want to stay here until I finish my career actually.
Now 29, Elneny joined us six and a half years ago from FC Basel, and has gone on to make 147 appearances, either side of a loan spell with Besiktas in 2019/20.
He was voted man-of-the-match in Sunday’s win over Everton, and finished the season by making seven consecutive starts in the centre of midfield. He said a positive conversation with Mikel Arteta at the end of the season helped make his mind up to extend his stay at the Emirates.
“I needed to hear what he’s thinking about me and I always say to him, ‘Mikel, I really appreciate what you’ve done for me.’
“Because with Mikel I play more than I was before. I said to him, ‘Mikel, if you say to me that you want me to stay or you want me to leave, I’m going to do whatever you want.’
“Then the way he spoke about me is something that really makes me emotional.
“It was really good for me to hear it from Mikel, about the way I play and the way I’m happy with him and being positive. It’s incredible for me to feel this way from Mikel, from the club and from Edu. I’m really happy.”
Now the only Egyptian to represent the Arsenal first team is just looking forward, and has high hopes for the future.
“When I speak to my family I always say: “Arsenal deserve to be at the top, always”.
“This is what’s always, always in my head. I need to put Arsenal at the highest point, because this is what we deserve.
“The way we train, the staff, you see everyone at Arsenal with the same mentality.
“Everyone needs to go to the Champions League, everyone needs to win the league. This is what we need, and this is what I love now from Mikel, and we push to be like this all the time.
“Of course I need to be a part of this, of this project to win the league, to go to the Champions League – why not? Because we deserve it, and we are one of the biggest clubs in the world.”