Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny (Reuters)
Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny has completed his move to English Premier League leaders Arsenal, coach Arsene Wenger said on Wednesday.
“Elneny will of course join us. He has joined us,” the French coach told a news conference following Arsenal’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League on Wednesday.
“We will see if he can qualify for Sunday,” the Frenchman added, referring to Arsenal’s next league game at home to Stoke City.
English reports said Elneny had penned a four-and-a-half year contract to become the first Egyptian to join the Gunners, who are seeking to win the elite Premier League for the first time since 2004.
The 23-year-old, who is a product of the youth academy of Cairo giants Ahly but made his name with fellow Egyptian club Arab Contractors, joins Arsenal from Swiss side Basel for a reported fee of seven million sterling pounds.
He has been a key figure for Basel since joining the club in January 2013, helping them to three league titles. He has also produced some superb displays this season, scoring six goals in all competitions – two in the Swiss league, two in the Europa League and two in the Swiss Cup.
Elneny was widely praised for his goals in the Europa League, the continent's secondary club competition, as he helped Basel reach the last 32, where they will meet French side Saint Etienne in February.
His goals included a screamer which led Basel to a 2-1 comeback victory away to Italy's Fiorentina in their opening Group I clash in September.
His arrival could help ease the midfield injury crisis of Arsenal, who are having to do without the likes of Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin and Mikel Arteta as they bid to end a long Premier League drought.
Elneny joins a long list of Egyptian players to taste Premier League football in the past 15 years.
The list includes Mido (Tottenham Hotspur, Wigan Athletic, Middlesbrough, West Ham), Hossam Ghaly (Tottenham Hotspur, Derby County), Mohamed Shawky (Middlesbrough), Amr Zaki (Wigan Athletic, Hull City), Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland, Hull City), Gedo, Ahmed Fathi (Hull City) and Mohamed Salah (Chelsea).
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)