Mohamed Elneny: five things Arsenal fans should know about the Basel star

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With midfield duo Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla currently sidelined through injury, Arsenal could be lining up midfield reinforcements this January.

According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners are in advanced talks with Basel over a potential £7.4 million deal for Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny.

The 23-year-old is fast emerging a talent and could be the ideal signing for Arsene Wenger’s side amidst their title challenge.


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But how much do Arsenal fans really know about the club’s latest reported target? Here are five things they probably didn't know.

1. His early career suffered a set back

Having started his career on the books of Egyptian giants El Ahly, Elneny eventually moved on to El Mokawloon SC in a bid to gain more first team football.

After impressing in the youth ranks, the 2010/11 season represented a breakthrough campaign for the midfielder, who became something of a first team regular.

But just as he was beginning to hit his stride, the Port Said Stadium disaster of February 2012 prompted the authorities to postpone and eventually cancel the 2011/12 Egyptian Premier League season.

It left Elneny with no club football to play, meaning he was only eligible to feature for the Egyptian national team and Under-23 side.

2. He’s already experienced London life

Elneny will already be familiar with the surrounds of London, having represented Egypt at the 2012 Olympic Games.

Selected as part of a squad that included former Basel teammate Mohamed Salah, Elneny played in all four games for Egypt at the tournament, including a group stage defeat to a Brazil team featuring Neymar.

Egypt progressed to the quarter-finals of the tournament, where they were eventually beaten 3-0 by Japan, finishing eighth in the process.

3. A living Swiss legend gave him his big break

Having already caught the eye of Basel’s scouts, Elneny was invited to a training camp held by the Swiss club in January 2013.

A friendly match with Steaua Bucharest later that same month gave the Egyptian his big chance to impress then manager and national team legend Murat Yakin.

Regarded as one of Switzerland’s best ever players, it was Yakin who had the final say on bringing Elneny to the club, with Basel eventually signing the defensive midfielder on an initial six month loan that would later turn into a permanent deal.

4. He’ll be familiar with Tottenham and Chelsea fans

The 2012/13 Europa League campaign was a memorable one for Elneny and Basel, who reached the semi-finals of the competition.

Along the way they came across some familiar Premier League foe too, with the Swiss club eliminating Tottenham on penalties in the quarter-finals before going out to eventual winners Chelsea in the semis.

Elneny featured in all four games against the two London clubs.

5. He’s in rich goalscoring form

A defensive midfielder by trade, Elneny has enjoyed some impressive form in front of goal in recent weeks for both club and country.

A goal for Egypt in a 4-0 win over Chad in a World Cup qualifier got the ball rolling, with Elneny scoring three goals in his last five games for Basel going into January, excluding a strike in a penalty shoot out against FC Sion in the Swiss Cup.

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Thierry Henry
Premier League

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