It feels like long time, but it was less than two weeks ago that we brought you word that a UK work permit had been granted for then-Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny to help him secure a transfer to Arsenal. The source was a completely unknown one to us at the time, King Fut, and they were the first outlets that were reporting this breakthrough in the transfer saga.
Well, as it turns out, not only were they first on the scene with that development, but they were 100% right, as Elneny's official announcement as an Arsenal arrived yesterday.
Today, King Fut is back, and they have an extremely interesting interview with an agent who was close to the transfer surrounding the details of the move. You should absolutely give it a read but, in summary, here are a few of the more noteworthy events leading up to Elneny's move:
- Arsenal's first contact and interest shown was eight months ago (!)
- While no club names were disclosed, there was interest from Germany and France for Elneny's services
- When it was quickly apparent that the transfer was going to take some time to complete, Arsenal sent strength and conditioning coach Sam Wilson to Elneny's location for 10 days to keep him in shape and ready for his move
- Elneny's transfer fee, reported to be around £7 million, "is much higher than that"
This tells us quite a few things. First, as many of you know but still needs rehashing in times like these, transfers in real life take much longer than what we assume. While the details surrounding discussions and events in the eight months weren't disclosed in the article, that it took eight months from initial contact to completed transfer should be enough info on its own that these are extremely complicated matters.
Also, Arsenal was confident in that whatever hang ups the transfer was going through earlier this month would resolve itself, seeing as they saw fit (pun intended) to send Sam Wilson to Elneny to exclusively train him on his own in the days before his move to London. While training with the squad itself is obviously preferable to other options, the coaching staff surely feels Wilson's ten days with Elneny were valuable, since Arsene Wenger stated earlier today that his new midfielder is available for selection this weekend at Stoke.
Last, that info about the reported transfer fee is beyond intriguing. Wenger's transfer MO is to keep as much info private and secret for a reason, and that info provided in the King Fut article goes a long way to explaining why. In this case, it's advantageous to both Arsenal and Basel to keep the actual fee private and let the media go along with the reported £7 million fee.
For starters, having the real fee out there would alert other clubs that you're willing to go to a higher price to secure the player you want. And in Basel's case, while they're not a European financial powerhouse, they're one of the most valuable clubs in Switzerland and the surrounding region. Compared to their fellow competitors and rivals, they have far more disposable income for transfers. Advertising to potential sellers that they received more money for Elneny than what's being reported opens them up to getting priced out of moves they otherwise would have considered, or completed.
Consider me a fan of King Fut now. They were accurate in reporting, and got a pretty good insider to the Elneny transfer to open up about details that we otherwise wouldn't have known about. Give their article a read; you'll enjoy it.