I was all set for this to be a slow day - it's Christmas Eve, my work is deserted, and everyone seems ready to pack it in for the day and go do things with their families, which is great.
But lo! Hark! What ho! and all that - Arsenal are reportedly Doing Work today: Metro (I know, I know) is linking to a story in Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung that intimates Arsenal are about to sign Mohamed Elneny in January to help patch their midfield hole. Aargauer Zeitung link the original report to Basler Zeitung, a regional daily newspaper from Basel, which makes one suspect that the report is more reliable. Basler Zeitung report that Elneny is returning to Switzerland to have a medical for the transfer, a fee that is reported to be €7.5m, which is about £5.5m.
Who is Mohamed Elneny? To be honest, I'm not quite sure, so let's go to scoutedfootball.com's report on him, shall we?
Usually deployed in a more deeper midfield position where he can dictate the play with his passing ability
okay, good so far...
Elneny is probably better with (the ball) when he has less time and is only allowed to take one or two touches before releasing it to another player.
right, fine, not a problem in this system!
he excels in both (central and defensive midfield) roles with his remarkable stamina and work rate.
Elneny, 23, played 5 times for Basel in the Europa League, scoring twice - both goals coming against Fiorentina. He was also Basel's best passer, averaging 92 passes per 90 minutes, completing 92.4% of them, with a decent variety of both longer passes and shorter passes. He played the holding role in a midfield two excellently in Basel's 2-1 win at Fiorentina, as his midfield partner Luca Zuffi the more attacking of the pair. Presumably, Elneny would be a holding player more in the style of Mikel Arteta rather than Francis Coquelin in his contribution to Arsenal's build up play.
So now you know. This would be a useful pickup for Arsenal - and he's not Cup tied, so that's good too.