MIKEL ARTETA has called for calm after Mohamed Elneny's impressive revival of his Arsenal career.
The Egyptian's time in North London appeared to be up when sent on loan to Besiktas last year.
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But he has been a surprise star of the Gunners' campaign, making nine appearances.
That has drawn talk of a new contract for Elneny, 28, given his current deal runs out in the summer.
Arteta, however, will not be drawn into a fresh commitment at this stage.
He told reporters ahead of Thursday's game with Molde: "Let's go step by step.
"What I can say is that I'm really pleased with the player and hopefully he can continue like that and perform all season.
"I think he's responding really well to all the challenges we're putting in front of him.
"He had a big one when he came back from his loan spell to show what he can bring to the squad.
"I think everybody's seen what he can do. I'm really pleased with his performances and what he can bring to the team."
Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery had disposed of Elneny last summer and fans did not expect a return under Arteta.
Many eyebrows were raised when he started the Community Shield clash with Liverpool, which the Gunners won on penalties.
Since then, Elneny has been a reliable option for Arteta, who has nonetheless made no secret of his desire to improve his midfield.
Houssem Aouar was a major target before Thomas Partey signed on transfer deadline day from Atletico Madrid, with Lucas Torreira going the other way.
And it was Elneny who partnered the Ghana international in the 1-0 win at Manchester United on Saturday.
After that clash, Arteta enthused: "I like players who have zero ego, who want to contribute to the team whether it’s for one minute or 96 minutes and contribute all the time to our culture by giving positive feedback all the time.
"That’s not just on the pitch, but also on the training ground when you are not selected. What can you bring to the group, how can you help and what are you contributing?
"What Mo transmits to the team is special. Don’t forget that I played with him and I know his qualities as a person."
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