After weeks of negotiations, Arsenal have confirmed that the 23-year-old Egyptian international has now joined the club, and could be in line to play against Stoke on Sunday. It’s understood that the player has signed a four-and-a-half year contract at the Emirates Stadium, with the fee thought to be in the region of £5million. The signing comes as a response to the spate of injuries Arsenal have suffered in central midfield, but there’s enough about Elneny to suggest he could be a real success at the club.
– A quick, energetic midfielder that specialises in a defensive role
– A renowned distance shooter
– Arsenal’s first outfield signing for 351 days
– An Egyptian international with 39 caps at the age of 23
– A serial league winner – he won the title in each of his three seasons with Basel
– A solid passer – he has the second highest pass percentage in this season’s Europa League
He’s set to become the first defensive midfielder Arsenal have signed from another club since 2007, when Lassana Diarra joined from Chelsea. It’s obvious, but it’s difficult to overstate just how badly Arsenal have needed a new defensive midfielder over the years. Francis Coquelin’s emergence was arguably more down to luck than judgement, with the Frenchman’s rapid acclimatization to the Premier League even surprising Wenger himself. Those who have watched Elneny will know he is a tireless runner that will get up and down the pitch and press opponents all day. It’s been a while since Arsenal have had a truly dynamic defensive midfielder, with the likes of Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and Coquelin all relatively restricted in terms of mobility.
Along with distance shooting, Elneny has also forged a reputation for being an excellent passer. His pass completion rate of 92.4% in this year’s Europa League was the highest posted by any Basel player, while he also averaged 92 passes per game in the competition.