After initial reports from Basler Zeitung that Arsenal were talking to Basel in the hope of signing Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny this January, rumours hotted up on Boxing Day.
Coming from John Cross’s claim that the Gunners had agreed a £5m fee, fans everywhere probably started scouring the internet for clips of the midfielder.
Well, Basler Zeitung now claim the transfer is imminent, with the Gunners agreeing a fee of over £7m for the midfielder. Arsenal have tended to look to pay transfer deals in instalments in the past, so we could assume that a fee would involve an initial £5m before add-ons take it to over £7m over the next few months or years.
The 4-0 loss to Southampton on Boxing Day will only underline the feeling that Arsenal need January signings, and midfield is the clear area the team is lacking in. Without Mikel Arteta, Arsenal fail from to control possession deep in their own half; the absence of Francis Coquelin leaves gaping holes in midfield. A midfielder who can do both is hard to find but must be high on Arsène Wenger’s shopping list.
Elneny, a 23-year-old Egyptian international, may just be that player. The higher transfer fee is reportedly thanks to his contract, which runs until 2018. Right now Arsenal can’t afford to squabble over the price, especially if it’s just going to be a few million more.