Egypt's Elneny Arsenal move facing obstacle: The Guardian

Omar Zaazou , Friday 1 Jan 2016

Egypt's current FIFA ranking outside the top 50 poses an obstacle to Mohamed Elneny's move to the English Premier League leaders

Mohamed Elneny
Egypt's Mohamed Elneny (Reuters)

Despite passing a medical at Arsenal, Mohamed Elneny's proposed €10 million move to the English Premier League leaders faces yet another obstacle related to Egypt's current out-of-the-top 50 FIFA ranking, the Guardian reported.

Egypt midfielder Elneny, who has been linked with Arsenal for more than a week now, is believed to have agreed on personal terms with the Londoners, as a work permit only remains for the move to be finalised.

Obtaining a work permit, however, looks to be complicated after Egypt have slipped outside the top 50 in the FIFA ranking following their failure to qualify for the last three Cup of Nations' editions.

Under new regulations issued by the English Football Association, non-EEA (European Economic Area) players have to meet a minimum percentage of international matches played for their country over the previous 24 month period, as long as they are in the top 50.

With Egypt currently ranked 57th, Elneny's move to Arsenal could well be jeopardised –with the Gunners likely to face an appeal.

Arsenal could well rely on the fact that the 23-year-old central midfielder has featured in every competitive game for his country over the past two years, in hope that they could be granted a special dispensation to sign him.

The ex-Arab Contractors man stated that he has all but joined the Gunners, as he is signing a deal on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remained coy over the Elneny deal, maintaining that nothing has been concluded regarding the Basel midfielder in a news conference on Wednesday.

Arsenal, who top the league table on goal difference with surprise package Leicester City, are understood to have been keen on signing the Egyptian following the injuries of key midfield duo Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla.    

Elneny, who joined Basel in January 2013, has been a regular for the Swiss champions – helping them to three consecutive league titles. 

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