He’s been linked with the Gunners for a while now but it looks like FC Basel’s Mohamed Elneny is going to be an Arsenal player sooner or later.
Expect Arsenal to announce signing of Mohamed Elneny from Basel either today or tomorrow. Work permit will be granted #afc
— Ed Aarons (@ed_aarons) January 6, 2016
A relative unknown in the world of European football (you can learn more about him here), as you’d already expect, there are a section of Arsenal fans using this potential signing to have a go at Arsene Wenger already. Elneny isn’t a proven player. He’s playing in Switzerland. This isn’t the marquee signing that will win Arsenal the league. All those statements might be true, but it doesn’t really matter in the end.
Despite a shocking transfer window where Petr Cech was the only signing, Arsenal have been doing just fine in the league and currently lead by two points. Elneny wasn’t going to be the defensive midfield signing that will consolidate the league for Arsenal anyway — he’ll still have to adapt to a whole new league, style of football as well as teammates. But at just 23 years of age, he is clearly a signing for the future. And with Francis Coquelin reportedly running again, things are looking up for Arsenal as the second half of the season beckons.
So why is he the right kind of signing? Despite the love and desire for a marquee name, Coquelin is the ideal defensive midfielder for the Gunners. At 24 years of age, if he was playing elsewhere, fans would be calling for Wenger to sign him. Is there a real need to buy a player at the level that Coquelin must be benched? No. The job Coquelin has done for Arsenal cannot be stated enough. He has added a bite in midfield that Arsenal have lacked with Mathieu Flamini or Mikel Arteta. It’s not just his commanding displays — for example, he’s also the midfielder with the most interceptions in the Premier League in 2015 with 106. There is no need for an upgrade. But simply, backup.
Arsenal now have someone with the potential to usurp Coquelin from his starting position. Go all the way back to 2013 when Arsenal had Andre Santos (remember him?) in their ranks. He just wasn’t a right fit for the Gunners and had to be offloaded. In came Nacho Monreal. While he was a Spain international, playing Champions League football with Malaga, he wasn’t well known to the football world like a Jordi Alba. But he came in and filled in for Kieran Gibbs who was injured at the time. However, Gibbs was still seen as the first choice full back especially considering he was younger. With various spells in and out of the team, Monreal eventually seized the position for himself and hasn’t looked back, playing every minute of football in the league this season, Bournemouth aside.
Just go back to last season where Arsenal needed backup to Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. They went in and swooped for Gabriel Paulista from Villarreal — a prominent club but the player was barely well known that well. Another signing for the future however, the Brazilian has been in and out of the team since signing but at 25 years of age, it’s clear that he’ll be Arsenal’s first choice defender in the near future with some great performances in the year that he’s been at the club.
Likewise, Elneny is in the same breed of left field signings that Wenger bags out of nowhere with potential to be a first team starter. And while there’s every chance that Elneny might be a flop signing, Wenger’s transfer record has usually been more hit than miss. In the end, Elneny is the right kind of signing that the Gunners needed and fans should be excited about his potential.