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Arsenal manager Arteta responds to Elneny talk as contract extension rumours emerge

18:20 GMT 04/11/2020
Mohamed Elneny Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2020-21
The Egypt midfielder has rediscovered his form in north London this season and he is proving to be a key player at the club

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta thinks it is too early for talks about Mohamed Elneny's contract extension after his fine start to the 2020-21 season.

Elneny has delivered impressive performances in the Gunners' midfield this campaign since he returned from a season-long loan at Turkish Super Lig club Besiktas.

On Sunday, the Egypt international was outstanding in the middle of the park as Arsenal secured 1-0 win against Manchester United - a first Premier League win at Old Trafford since 2006.

He has featured in nine of Arsenal's 12 matches this season but his current contract is expected to expire at the end of the current campaign.

Ahead of Thursday's UEFA Europa League encounter against Molde at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta claims it is not the time for contract talks when quizzed about a new deal for the 28-year-old midfielder.

He said in a press conference: "Let's go step by step please! What I can say is that I'm really pleased with the player and hopefully he can continue like that and perform all season."

The Spanish coach also expressed satisfaction with the way Elneny has fought for his place in the team and how he is helping with his performances.

"I think he's responding really well to all the challenges we're putting in front of him," Arteta added. "He had a big one when he came back from his loan spell to show what he can bring to the squad. I think everybody's seen what he can do. I'm really pleased with his performances and what he can bring to the team."

Elneny is in contention to make his third appearance in the Europa League on Thursday, having played every minute of Arsenal's games in the European tournament this season.

One player who has struggled to make an impact at Arsenal is William Saliba, with Arteta admitting the defender could leave on loan in January.

He said: “I am fed up with the situation because as you could see we tried to find a way in the last few days [of the transfer window] to give him some football.

“I explained that he needed that transition year when we decided to buy him and send him on loan to Saint-Etienne, for many reasons that didn’t happen, he didn’t have that transition year and he needs to go through that.

“At the moment, with the amount of central defenders that we have in the team we had to leave him out of the squad which is painful because we have some injuries and we could have used him, but it’s part of this profession.