Mikel Arteta has pumped the brakes on talk of Mohamed Elneny being handed a new Arsenal contract.
The Egypt international has breathed new life into his Gunners career with a string of stellar displays this season.
The midfielder, who spent the 2019-20 season on loan in Turkey with Besiktas, turned in a dominant performance this past weekend in Arsenal’s 1-0 victory over Manchester United.
Elneny, 28, has made nine appearances for the north Londoners so far this season and appears to have firmly established a place in the starting XI.
His prolonged run in the team has led to speculation he could have his current deal at the Emirates, which is set to expire in the summer, extended.
Arteta, however, insists talk of the former Basel man being given a new deal is somewhat premature.
“Let’s go step by step please!” the Spaniard said on Wednesday when asked about the possibility of Elneny being given a new deal.
Tottenham Hotspur: 59
Manchester United: 7
Manchester City: 1
“What I can say is that I am really pleased with the player and everything that he is doing and hopefully he can continue like that and perform really well throughout the season.”
He added: “I think he is responding really well to all the challenges we are putting in front of him.
“He had a big one when he came back from his loan spell to show what he could bring to the squad.
“And I think everyone has seen what he can do, so I am really pleased with his performances and what he brings to the team.”
Elneny and his Arsenal team-mates will be back in action on Thursday night, welcoming Norwegian champions FC Molde to the Emirates.
“Their strengths are that they work really well as a team,” Arteta said of the Eliteserien side. “They are a really strong, physical team.
They are really well organised. I would say defensively, they are really hard to beat when they get in this middle-low block.
“They have some creative players who are dangerous int he final third and they’re a real threat on set-pieces as well.
“The table now is really tight, we’ve both won both games so it will probably the most difficult game that we’ve played so far in the competition.”
Arteta plans to freshen up his starting XI for the visit of Erling Moe’s side, saying: “You will see some changes again.
“I believe we have to manage over time the minutes and exposure that we give to the players with the amount of games that we have now, and also in the International break they play three games, then until March we are playing every three or four days.
“So we have to think what we need at the present and mid-term as well a bit because it is going to get really, really condensed.