Mohamed Elneny has revealed that Arsenal were very close to signing Hoffenheim centreback, Fabian Schär, before we signed him in January instead.

The Gunners were linked with the 24-year-old Switzerland international in the summer but it appears we were scouting him long before that, if what Elneny says is true, since the two were at Basel together.

In fact, it was apparently while scouting Schär that we noticed Elneny.

Speaking to DMC Sports, Elneny said:

“I was very happy when I joined Arsenal but I asked one of my friends how the negotiations started and if they had scouted me before,

“He told me that Arsenal officials were scouting Fabian Schar in the first place, and that’s when they noticed me.

“All of us at Basel knew that Schar was linked with Arsenal.

“And at the season’s end, we congratulated him as the move was close to completion, according to Schar himself.

“But afterwards, things changed quickly.

“My agent told me that Arsenal officials came many times to watch Schar but they were impressed every time by my performances and development and they went on to sign me instead.”

Schär has only made three appearances in the Bundesliga this season and at the age of 24, he should be starting to approach his peak.

Will Arsenal return for him?

With the prospect of Per Mertesacker being out of contract in the summer looming, we could dip into the market so we at least have a body on the bench. I doubt he’d expect too much game time since he’d be moving to a better club. However, I’m not sure how useful he would be.