Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was pleased following the capture of FC Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny and revealed that the club began negotiations in early December with the Swiss outfit. After a slight delay due to work-permit issues, the Gunners announced the signing on 14 January.
The French manager is confident the midfielder, who can either play in a defensive or box-to-box role, will be a positive addition squad in the coming years. He also revealed that the club had been tracking Elneny for a year before deciding to make a move. The Egyptian international could make his debut against Stoke City on 17 January.
The 23-year-old midfielder spent three seasons with Basel, winning three Swiss Super League titles, while also competing in the Champions League and Europa League. The Gunners boss believes the experience in Europe's elite competitions will help Arsenal's new signing adapt faster to the Premier League, but has warned him that the strength needed to consistently play in the English top-flight is unlike any other league across Europe.
"I'm very pleased because I started in December to be ready at the beginning of January because I knew that position was a priority," Wenger said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"We watched him for a year now. We have looked at him in many games. We feel that every year he has improved and his age is very interesting. I wanted a player who can play purely defensive but ca as well be a box-to-box."
"His strengths are his technical level, his vision, his intelligence and his disciplined attitude and his physical aptitude to compete at a high level," the Frenchman explained.
"Where he needs to certainly adapt is to the challenges, the force needed in the Premier League to survive. That could demand a little bit of adaptation but overall he has all the ingredients to do well."
"I believe he will be a good addition to the squad for many reasons. The first is that he is not coming straight from Egypt to a big club. He has an intermediary stay in Europe so the adaptation problem is less of a question mark and he already has experience in the Champions League and Europe League," the 65-year-old Arsenal manager added, as quoted by the Mirror.