31st December 2015: Elneny reportedly passes medical

Welcome to the last TremendArse post of 2015. The calendar year may come to a close in a few hours’ time, but the January transfer window swings open for business.

Reports this evening say Basel’s Mohamed Elneny has passed a medical ahead of his proposed switch to Arsenal and the transfer is now dependent on him gaining a work permit, which is expected to be granted. Excellent.

ESPN’s website has a great piece on the midfielder, which covers his move to European football from his native Egypt, compares him with his compatriot Mohamed Salah, and offers an insight into what kind of player and personality we’ll be adding to our squad. Well worth a look.

Elsewhere, Hull City manager Steve Bruce has revealed Isaac Hayden will be returning to Arsenal early from his season-long loan deal with the Tigers, because the defender/defensive midfielder wants regular game time – something he hasn’t been getting at the KC Stadium. Bruce said:

Isaac wants to play and I haven’t been able to play him enough. The form of Meyler and Livermore has been excellent so he’s found himself restricted. I’m disappointed and sad that we’re losing him because I do believe he could have played a big part in the second half of the season but he wants to play now. I can’t give him that. He goes back with our best wishes. It hasn’t really worked out for him because of other players in form. When we signed Isaac I was expecting to be without Livermore and he’s similar in the way he plays. Jake coming back into the fold has limited his opportunities.

With Mathieu Debuchy looking likely to be granted a move away from the club as he searches for regular football in an attempt to force his way into France’s squad for Euro 2016, part of me wonders if we’ve actually been the ones to instigate Hayden’s early return.

I mean, Calum Chambers is the likeliest candidate to play Hector Bellerin’s deputy if Debuchy does depart, which would allow Hayden to assume the role of ‘last resort defensive midfielder’ in our squad. I suppose if Hayden is immediately loaned out to another club upon his return to London Colney, we can put that theory to bed, but it makes sense at the moment, in my mind at least.

Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has been lavishing more praise on Mesut Ozil, this time enthusing about the German midfielder’s improved athleticism and leadership qualities. He said:

I think he plays in a position that suits him well. He plays in a style of football that suits him well. He is, today, maybe more in a more comfortable psychological position because he’s accepted and not so much questioned than he was in the years before. This season he was not stopped by injuries and I believe that he arrives at an age – 27 – that you think ‘it’s time for me to really be efficient in every single game, and I want to enjoy every single game’. When he was injured for a long period he worked very hard physically. He is a complete athlete. I also believe he has grown in stature and takes responsibilities, leadership in the team and on that front he has improved tremendously and looks determined to lead the team compared to when he arrived.

It’s hard to argue against the suggestion that our attacking strategy at the moment is predominantly: get the ball to Ozil at every opportunity, and in that sense, he’s not just a leader, but the leader of our side at the moment, especially in the absence of Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez.

Right, that’s it from me. Whatever you’re up to tonight, I hope you have a good one.

See you next year.

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