Arsenal fans have become accustomed to waiting in frustration for the duration of transfer windows in the desperate hope that their club will spend the money required to bolster what is often a paper-thin squad. This January, however, promises to be different.
According to widespread reports, Arsenal will complete a deal of around £5 million for Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny as soon as the transfer window opens. The 23-year-old is said to be undergoing a medical on Tuesday, having already agreed personal terms. Elneny joined Basel from Egyptian side El Mokawloon in 2013 and became an integral part of three consecutive Swiss Super League titles. He has also impressed in the Europa League, as well as at international level for Egypt.
A deep-lying midfielder with a strong passing ability, Elneny would provide immediate cover in an area where Arsenal have been hit hard by injuries. Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla are both out for at least another two months, while Jack Wilshere has yet to play this season because of an ankle problem. But Elneny’s age means he is also sure to be seen as having the potential to be a key squad member for the long term, especially as Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta will be out of contract next summer.
And speculation suggests that Elneny is not the only midfielder being targeted. A report in Italy claims that Arsene Wenger is also keen on Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozovic. The Croatian 23-year-old is currently only on loan at the Italian giants from Dinamo Zagreb, but Inter have an agreement in place to make the deal permanent for 5 million euros (£3.7 million). And it is thought that Inter could be persuaded to immediately turn a tidy profit on the player if an offer of 25 million euros (£18.5 million) is forthcoming.
Brozovic has been in and out of an Inter team that currently tops Serie A this season. But he has impressed when he has featured and found the net twice. More of an offensive-minded player than Elneny, Brozovic has also been linked with European champions Barcelona.
Still, the asking price is likely to put off Arsenal, as may prove the case with Sevilla’s defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak. The Gunners were linked strongly with the Poland international after he helped Sevilla to the Europa League title, but he eventually confirmed his commitment to the Spanish side.
British reports now claim that Arsenal will revive their interest in January, however that appears highly unlikely. When Arsenal fist expressed their interest, Krychowiak had a 30 million euros (£22.2 million) release clause in his contract. But that has now been increased to 45 million euros (£33.3 million) when he signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract just last month.
If there is another position Wenger could look to strengthen in the January transfer window, it is surely up front. With Danny Welbeck having not played since April because of injury and Theo Walcott now being used on the wing, Arsenal are short of alternatives for Olivier Giroud. Perhaps as a result, it has now been suggested that Arsenal have been alerted by the prolific form of Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernández.
After failing to force his way into Louis van Gaal’s plans at Manchester United, Hernández completed a £7 million transfer to Bayer Leverkusen in the summer. And the 27-year-old has made a sensational start to life in Germany, scoring 19 goals in 22 matches, including five in the Champions League. Yet, precisely because he is thriving with the opportunity of regular first-team action, it is tough to imagine him so quickly giving that up to again try his luck at a huge club where he seems unlikely to be an automatic starter.