Tuesday Apr 14, 2020. 13:00
Former Brazil and Arsenal player Gilberto Silva believes Egypt’s Mohamed Elneny should have inherited the defensive midfield role that himself and Patrick Vieira made so crucial at Arsenal.
Silva, a World Cup winner, played at Arsenal for six seasons and made over 240 appearances for the club. He was a key man in their ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003-04 when the Gunners went through an entire Premier League campaign without losing a match.
He believes that the defensive role he and Vieira played for Arsene Wenger’s team was never truly replaced, though he argues that Elneny is the only player in the club’s recent history capable of filling their boots.
“In the last few years, the situation has been difficult at Arsenal. They have very similar players in midfield, with profiles that resemble each other and not really players of the profile of Patrick Vieira, or even my profile,” Silva told France Football.
“The only individual who resembled [us], that could have been Mohamed Elneny, but he didn’t play. But they have not really had those types of players to cover the defensive midfield position.”
Elneny joined Arsenal in 2016 from FC Basel but has made just under 90 appearances in that time. At the start of the season he was sent on loan to Turkish side Besiktas, where he has impressed manager Sergen Yalcun and rumours have surfaced that the Istanbul club will look to make his move a permanent one.