I’m an ex-Arsenal star with £18m career earnings, now I’m unemployed at 31… I was too heartbroken for a lap of honour

MOHAMMED ELNENY admits he “refused” to join Arsenal’s lap of honour on the final day as he was too “heartbroken” over his departure.

The midfielder, 31, is one of 22 players leaving the Gunners this summer after what he calls “the best eight years of my life”.

Mo Elneny consoles skipper Martin Odegaard over his title disappointment while suffering from a different type of pain himself


Mo Elneny consoles skipper Martin Odegaard over his title disappointment while suffering from a different type of pain himselfCredit: Getty
Elneny was given a bumpy send-off in training but of the right kind!


Elneny was given a bumpy send-off in training but of the right kind!Credit: Getty

Elneny comforted team-mates after their 2-1 home comeback win over Everton failed to stop Manchester City retaining the Premier League title.

But when it came to sharing the traditional end-of-season circuit of the pitch with the rest of the squad, he was too “full of emotion”.

Now club-less, the 101-cap Egyptian peaked his career with Arsenal’s 2017 FA Cup glory.

But injuries plagued the anchorman’s latter years at the Emirates.


Nonetheless, he remained a cult favourite with fans and a popular presence in the dressing room on his way to more than 150 appearances for the Gunners.

In fact, Arsenal players raised El in training – gathering in a circle to throw him up in the air as a send-off salute.

He beamed widely then – before letting his sadness creep in the next day after the on-pitch finale against the Toffees.

However, the ex-Basel star, who had made around £18million in career earnings, is sure the Gunners will be “in my heart forever”.

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Mikel Arteta’s striker shopping list

By Jordan Davies

ARSENAL are stepping up plans to sign a world-class striker in the summer after their Champions League heartbreak.

Mikel Arteta splashed out £204.5m last summer on Declan Rice, Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber.

But the Spanish manager accepts he needs a proven goalscorer to take the club to the next level.

And here are the players he is looking at to get the Gunners firing:

BENJAMIN SESKO (RB Leipzig, value £40m-£45m)

One for the future at 20 years old. Scored 16 goals for RB Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga last season and the Slovenian has carried on that good form in Germany with Leipzig this campaign.

VIKTOR GYOKERES (Sporting Lisbon, value £60m-£80m)

Been scouted several times this season. The Swedish striker, 25, is more of a traditional No 9 so may not suit Arsenal’s demand for flexibility but would bring a physicality that boss Mikel Arteta craves.

ALEXANDER ISAK (Newcastle, value £75m-£85m)

Impressed in his first two seasons in English football. The Swede, 24, has the pace and finesse to match his finishing ability, and Eddie Howe’s Toon may need to sell to balance the books this summer.

JOSHUA ZIRKZEE (Bologna, value £45m-£50m)

Dutch wonder  is attracting the attentions of clubs across Europe. At 6ft 4in the 22-year-old forward would have no trouble adapting to the Premier League and already has an eye for goal.

XAVI SIMONS (RB Leipzig, value £70m-£80m)

An incredible talent in the Bukayo Saka mould, currently on loan from Paris Saint-Germain. The future of the Dutch attacker, 20, depends on how much money his parent club want to make from him.


Elneny told Arsenal’s official website: “I love this club so much. I love the fans, I love everything about Arsenal.

“It breaks my heart – that’s why I refused to take to the field [on the lap of honour] because I was so full of emotion. 

Arsenal’s top targets in the summer transfer window (1)

“But that’s life, my time here has come to an end and I’m very proud of what I’ve done for this club.

“I love these fans and I gave everything that I had. I appreciate everything they did for me, in the good moments and the bad, and they’re always going to be in my heart forever.”

Brought to Arsenal by legendary boss Arsene Wenger in 2016, Elneny dished praise on current manager Mikel Arteta.

He said: “When he was playing he was clever, and then he’s had so many good coaches he got to work with. You could see his leadership and that he could be something special.

“I’ve never seen a group of players like this. Everyone supports each other and loves each other, and works as a family. I’m going to miss them, they’ve been my friends for so long.

“We’re going to be friends forever. I’m going to be supporting them now in front of the TV and sometimes I’m going to come to the stadium to watch them. 

“I’m sure they’ll have an amazing year next year as well because they deserve it.”


STAY in the know this summer with The Sun’s transfer experts.

Real Madrid have confirmed the signing of French phenomenon Kylian Mbappe.

Chelsea have announced the appointment of Enzo Maresca as the club’s new head coach.

Manchester City are reportedly keen on tying Erling Haaland down to a new deal.

Follow our LIVE TRANSFER BLOG for all the latest deals, gossip and exclusives.

ARSENAL TRANSFER NEWS LIVE: All the latest deals and rumours from the Emirates

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