Mohamed Elneny was finally announced as an Arsenal player via the club’s official website on Thursday morning after a longer than expected wait for a work permit.
The 23-year-old has become the first Egyptian to play for the Gunners and the first outfield addition since Gabriel signed from Villarreal a year ago.
His arrival from FC Basel will be a great boost for Arsene Wenger’s options in a depleted midfield, and the Arsenal boss explained how pleased he was to bring him in.
I am very pleased because I started [the signing process] in December to be ready at the beginning of January because I knew that the position was a bit of a priority.
Overall I believe he will be a good addition to the squad, for many reasons.
First he has not come in straight to a big club. He had an intermediate stay in Europe so the adaptation is less of a question mark.
Secondly, he is 23-years-old and has already got Champions League, Europa League and Swiss League experience. He is a player who is adaptable in midfield.
To get the transfer concluded in the middle of January is not what Arsenal fans are used to seeing. The relative swiftness of the Gunners’ recruitment department will allow Wenger the option of giving Elneny his debut this weekend.
Whether or not Wenger will throw him into the tricky game at Stoke or let the new man watch from the bench will be a decision open to the longtime Arsenal manager, having completed proceedings before Friday’s noon deadline.
The Frenchman said having watched him for the last year, he has seen the former El Mokawloon star improve into a dual threat in the centre of midfield.
He can be box to box and be a holding midfielder so that is for us very promising. We wanted a versatile player and I wanted a player who can play defensive but can as well play to box to box.
His strengths are his technical level, his vision, his intelligence, his disciplined attitude and his physical attitude to compete at a high level. I think he has the physical qualities to play at the top level.
Elneny has scored six goals so far this season in the Swiss Super League. With time to acclimatise to English football, Wenger hopes to see his new man flourish, with competition for places steep when everyone is fit.
Where he needs to adapt is to the challenges, the force needed in the Premier League to survive. I think that could demand a little bit of adaptation. But overall I think he has all the attributes to do well.