Premier League leaders Arsenal have finally completed their first signing of the January transfer window with the capture of 23-year-old Mohamed Elneny. The Egypt international joins from Swiss champions FC Basel and will help to shore up an area of Arsene Wenger's first-team squad that has been depleted by injuries through the current campaign.
Although Mathieu Flamini is currently fit and captain Mikel Arteta recently returned after almost two months out with a calf injury, the loss of Francis Coquelin to a knee problem suffered against West Brom in November 2015 further underlined the Gunners' desperate need to sign another defensive midfielder.
Elneny's proposed move had been public knowledge for several weeks. Wenger revealed in a press conference held prior to Arsenal's eventful 3-3 draw at Liverpool that he hoped the signing would be made official soon after conceding that it had been delayed by a combination of work permit issues and special paperwork, as well as attempts to secure a visa. The manager stated after that match that the deal had at last been completed and confirmation from the club has now been forthcoming.
"Arsenal have signed Mohamed Elneny from FC Basel," the club announced with an official statement on 14 January. "The 23-year-old midfielder spent three years with the Swiss club, making over 90 league appearances and winning three consecutive Super League titles.
"He featured 28 times in all competitions in the first half of this season, scoring six goals. Elneny began his senior career with El Mokawloon in the Egyptian Premier League. An experienced Egypt international, he helped his country to the quarter-finals of the London Olympics in 2012.
"The transfer is subject to the completion of regulatory processes. Everyone at Arsenal would like to welcome Mohamed to the club."
Elneny made 144 appearances in all competitions during his three-year stint at Basel, lifting the Swiss Super League each season. Basel have also confirmed the deal, with their release ending: "FC Basel 1893 thanks Mohamed Elneny sincerely for his tireless efforts and wishes him the best for the professional and personal future."
Neither club have officially disclosed the fee involved in the deal for Elneny, although The Mirror believe it to be approximately £5m ($7.1m). Details regarding the player's contract length are also unclear at this stage.