Arsene Wenger has provided a fresh update on his proposed move for Mohamed Elneny.
The Egyptian midfielder has been repeatedly linked with a switch to Arsenal since the re-opening of the transfer window, although the deal has yet to be officially concluded despite current club FC Basel confirming on 4 January that his absence from training was due to a transfer possibly being completed soon.
The Gunners boss admitted prior to his side's 3-1 FA Cup third-round victory over Sunderland on 9 January that things had become slightly complicated, but that he still hoped to see the signing completed within two or three days. With confirmation still yet to arrive, Wenger has since elaborated further on the problems that have held up Elneny's arrival as well as slightly revising that aforementioned timescale.
"I expect movement [this week]," he was quoted as saying by The Mirror during a pre-match press conference held prior to Arsenal's Premier League trip to Liverpool on 13 January. "I think this week it can happen, we are positive.
"The situation should be sorted out. There's a lot of work permit problems and special paperwork to do, and the visa. We hope to finalise it this week. As long as it's not definitely signed you have to be cautious, but I'm optimistic."
Leaders Arsenal's pursuit of 23-year-old Elneny comes at a time that the club are desperate to reinforce their squad with the addition of at least one new defensive midfielder. Already seen by many supporters and pundits as a key issue coming into the 2015/16 season, the medial ligament injury suffered by Francis Coquelin in November 2015 has only served to further highlight a lack of depth in that area.
Captain and deep-lying playmaker Mikel Arteta only returned to first-team action with a second-half cameo against Sunderland following a calf problem, while Mathieu Flamini can hardly be viewed as a long-term solution.
Another pressing piece of January business for Arsenal relates to the future of Nacho Monreal. The Spanish left-back's current contract is due to expire in June 2017, although Wenger confirmed after the Sunderland win that negotiations over an extension were almost complete.
Justifying the decision to retain Monreal, he added: "The regularity of his performances, the fact he's improved every year since he arrived. He's not necessarily my first-choice as (Kieran) Gibbs is playing at a very strong level. I'm spoiled for choice. But Nacho Monreal has been absolutely outstanding."