The performance of Mohamed Elneny was one of the highlights in what was an atypically insipid end-of-season Arsenal performance against Norwich City.
Having been freed from the shackles of pressure manacled to those embroiled in a title race for some weeks now, the Gunners were unable to produce anything close to their fluent best against their struggling counterparts, eventually labouring to a 1-0 win at the Emirates.
But, as the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud contributed very little, all-action Elneny shone in the heart of midfield.
His 94.2% pass completion rate versus the Canaries was the second highest of any player to start the game, while only Aaron Ramsey could best his 104 touches.
Defensively, he made the second highest number of tackles, interceptions and clearances among his teammates and no fellow Gunner outdid his shout-count of three either.
Heavily involved in all aspects of the game, Elneny is obviously a skilled practitioner and, given the short time he has spent in English football, it stands to reason that he’ll only improve.
However, it’d be a surprise if the 23-year-old developed his game to reach world-class standards and it’s this question of potential wherein a familiar Arsenal transfer quandary lies.
Francis Coquelin’s overnight emergence last season prevented Arsene Wenger investing in an elite holding-midfield player over the summer.
With Arsenal still sorely lacking in this department, it’s a move that, as many suspected, has cost the Gunners on the field. Indeed, it’s highly likely that Elneny’s January acquisition only occurred in light of realisations that the Frenchman wasn’t the solution to their problem.
Coquelin, who spent a good chunk of the campaign injured, now finds himself subordinate to his Egyptian counterpart at the base of midfield.
For Arsenal fans, it’s undoubtedly pleasurable to see the new recruit flourishing, but his good form will deter Wenger from getting his wallet out to rectify the issue with a top-shelf talent and when Elneny’s development ceilings off, they’ll be back in the Coquelin boat again.
Potential solutions to their enforcer issue are expected to be widely available this summer too, with rumours abound that N’Golo Kante is a target for Manchester United, while Leicester City will allegedly look to replace the Frenchman with Portuguese human tank William Carvalho.
Yet shortsighted Arsenal will refrain from bidding for these, or any of their positional peers, due to Elneny’s springtime stint in the sun.