Mohamed Elneny has returned a positive test for Covid-19, The Athletic have relayed the claim from the Egyptian FA.
Apparently, the Arsenal man was tested several times before and his results were always negative, but a positive test came as he traveled with his teammates to face Togo away. He has now returned to Cairo and will have to self-isolate.
According to the government guidelines, an individual who has tested positive has to isolate for 10 days starting from the day the symptoms begin. In Elneny’s case, there are no symptoms yet so the 10-day period starts on the day of the test, which was presumably Monday. The game between Togo and Egypt is being played today (Tuesday).
This means Elneny is certain to miss Arsenal’s clash with Leeds United this weekend, and he is a huge doubt for the Europa League match with Molde the following Thursday.
Elneny has been a very important part of the team under Mikel Arteta this season, which represents quite a turnaround in his Arsenal career. He has proven a good fit alongside summer addition Thomas Partey, and his highly commendable work-rate and selflessness on the pitch mean a lot to the whole team.
On the other hand, central midfield is probably the area where Arteta has the most quality options to choose from, and missing Elneny for a game or two shouldn’t represent too much of a problem. Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos played extremely well towards the end of last season, and one of them is likely to na called upon to step up and fill in. If Arteta opts for a like-for-like replacement it will probably be Xhaka, but if the boss goes for more creativity in the middle of the park, then it could be Ceballos.
Be that as it may, let’s hope Elneny remains without symptoms and gets well soon.