Arsenal ‘reach agreement’ to allow Mohamed Elneny to leave on free transfer but face issue

Mikel Arteta previews Arsenal's game at Liverpool

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Turkish giants Galatasaray have reportedly “stepped up” their efforts to sign Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny. The 29-year-old has only played seven minutes of Premier League football for Mikel Arteta’s side since August.

His four-minute cameo at the end of the Gunners’ 1-0 home victory against Watford was his first domestic appearance in eight matches.

Competition for midfield places at the Emirates Stadium is rife, and the former FC Basel man has found himself behind the likes of Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey, Albert Sambi-Lokonga, and, when fit, Granit Xhaka.

His last meaningful domestic performance came in the chastening 5-0 away defeat to Manchester City, where he was brought on at half-time to limit the damage following Xhaka’s first-half red card.

And it appears Elneny is about to fall by the wayside, as reports from Turkish outlet Vatan have claimed Galatasaray have opened negotiations about a free transfer for next season.

With his contract set to expire in the summer, the 22-time Turkish champions will be free to negotiate with the midfielder in January.

During this period, a deal can be agreed between Elneny and Fatih Terim’s side, ahead of a free transfer at the end of his Arsenal contract in June.

It has also been reported negotiations between Arsenal technical director Edu Gaspar and Elneny’s agent concluded that the midfielder will be allowed to depart on a free transfer.

However, while some reports have claimed a deal is essentially “done”, Elneny’s wages could prove to be a stumbling block.

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Elneny is reportedly demanding a salary of around €3m-a-season (£2.5m), and his lofty demands could very well prove to be too much for Galatasaray.

Previous reports from Vatan have claimed president Burak Elmas told his coach Terim, who is a huge advocate of Elneny, that any chances of signing the Arsenal star on his purported wage demands would be “impossible”.

While the Gunners seem to be willing to part ways with the Egyptian, negotiations appear to be at an early stage.

Elneny is into his sixth season as an Arsenal player, having initially arrived from Swiss outfit FC Basel in January 2016.

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He has made a total of 71 Premier League appearances for the Gunners, scoring one goal and contributing three assists.

Elneny already has previous experience of playing in Turkey, having spent a season on loan at Besiktas in the 2019-20 season.

After a relatively successful spell at Vodafone Park, he returned to the Gunners the following campaign and made 23 Premier League appearances under Arteta.

Unfortunately for Elneny, the Gunners’ bold summer transfer strategy has left him in the Emirates wilderness.

Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Nuno Tavares, Martin Odegaard, Takehiro Tomiyasu, and Sambi-Lokonga were all signed for a combined £150m.

And the latter’s impressive performances have seen him leapfrog Elneny in the midfield pecking order.

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