Mohamed Elneny
Mohamed Elneny of FC Basel 1893 celebrates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League match between Fiorentina and Basel in Florence, Italy Getty

Arsenal are preparing a move for Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny to alleviate their problems in defensive midfield this season. The Gunners are going through an injury crisis at the moment and have identified the Basel midfielder to come through in January and hold fort before the big names are back later in February.

The Mirror reports that the Gunners had their eyes on the player last season but are now ready to go ahead with their interest to spruce up their numbers in midfield. Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky are the five players Arsenal are missing in that position. Aaron Ramsey and Mathieu Flamini are currently being used in central midfield but an injury to either will put their title bid under a major threat.

The Gunners overcame Manchester City at the Emirates to open up a four-point gap between themselves and the Citizens. Leicester City lead the pile at the top, currently two points ahead, but there is a growing sense in the media and Arsenal contingent that this can be the year that the Gunners re-invent themselves and win their first title in over a decade. Elneny will help them put up numbers in case of further injuries, with the player having scored two goals in five appearances already in the Europa League.

Victor Wanyama remains their top priority in the defensive midfield but the Southampton man will not be sold in January and the Saints' asking price of £25m ($37m) is another area of concern for the Gunners. Sporting Lisbon midfielder Victor Carvalho has also been assessed but a move is likely to wait till at least the summer when they have a better repository of players.

Meanwhile, Alexis Sanchez is likely to be back in action by the middle of January, after suffering a setback in training with his hamstring problem. The Gunners have a few important games lined up in that period, with trips to Liverpool and Stoke City, followed by a home game against Chelsea.