Arsene Wenger claims he never had any intention of parting with “super popular” Mohamed Elneny after handing the midfielder fresh terms.
The Egypt international has never been a regular throughout his time at Emirates Stadium, but is considered to be an important squad player.
That role had sparked talk that he could be lured away from Arsenal by the promise of more minutes elsewhere, with the 25-year-old admitting to plenty of interest being shown.
Wenger, though, insists a move was never on the cards, with Elneny having been handed a new long-term contract to keep him in north London for the foreseeable future.
“He a super-popular player and everybody inside the club loves him,” the long-serving Frenchman told Arsenal TV.
“But he’s not only loved, he is also a very good player and he showed that in Moscow. I never wanted him to leave, I always wanted him to stay. I must say that we had demands for him but he always wanted to stay too.”
Elneny impressed all over the field for Arsenal during a Europa League quarter-final second leg clash with CSKA Moscow, with his position being tweaked to meet the demands of the game.
Wenger added on a versatile performer: “In the second half in Moscow he played in defence and then afterwards, when he moved back into the middle of the park, he gave assists. He works hard and is generous. Overall, I think he did very well.
“And I’m very happy [about the red card decision] because I think it was a wise decision and he will be available for Newcastle.”
Elneny was dismissed on his last Premier League outing for Arsenal – in a 3-2 victory over Southampton – but has seen that red card rescinded and a subsequent ban avoided.