15th January 2016: Elneny signs and targets treble

Happy Friday and thanks for dropping by. So Mohamed Elneny is finally a Gunner after the club confirmed his capture yesterday, and providing we managed to register him by noon today, he’ll be available for our trip to Stoke on Sunday.

Here’s what Arsene Wenger had to say about his new recruit when he spoke to Arsenal Player:

Overall I believe he will be a good addition to the squad. First he has not come in straight to a big club, he had an intermediate stay in Europe so the adaptation is less of a question mark. He is 23 years old and has already got Champions League, Europa League and Swiss League experience. He is a player who is adaptable in midfield. He can be box to box and be a holding midfielder so that is for us very promising. We wanted a versatile player and I wanted a player who can play defensive but can as well play to box to box. His strengths are his technical level, his vision, his intelligence, his disciplined attitude and his physical attitude to compete at a high level. I think he has the physical qualities to play at the top level. Where he needs to adapt is to the challenges, the force needed in the Premier League to survive. I think that could demand a little bit of adaptation. But overall I think he has all the attributes to do well.

Whilst the player himself revealed his joy at joining Arsenal, his pride at having the chance to work under the management of Arsene, and also laid out his hopes in terms of winning trophies with his new club. He said:

It is an indescribable feeling, I am really glad of course. Arsenal is one of the world’s greatest teams, and I am very keen to participate positively with my new team, God willing, and to give my best for the team and for myself. Arsenal is one of those teams that everyone enjoys watching and of course I would love to play for such a great team. Mr Wenger is a highly respected manager and one of the world’s best managers. It is my honour to be trained under his management. It is one the biggest clubs in the world, I know everything about it and its players. I would like to tell [the fans] that, although you have not seen much of me, I promise I will contribute positively with the team. I am hoping that we win the Premier League and cup this season, and the Champions League as well.

One thing we can be sure of before he’s kicked a ball for the club is that he’s ambitious and by the sound of things, pretty confident in his ability, which is obviously great to hear. Obviously he’ll have to back his words up with performances but my guess would be that he’ll be on the bench on Sunday, unless Mathieu Flamini is feeling the effects of Wednesday night’s game at Anfield.

That said, it was interesting to read we dispatched strength and conditioning coach Sam Wilson to work with Elneny around ten days ago to keep him in shape while the transfer was being finalized, so if he’s deemed ready to play straight way by the boss, we may even see him start at the Britannia Stadium.

Although he’s said to be equally at ease playing as an out-and-out defensive midfielder or in a box-to-box role, with Francis Coquelin still side-lined, you’d imagine he’ll be asked to mimic what the Frenchman brings to the side – patrolling the space in front of our defence and providing the counter balance to Aaron Ramsey’s more attacking instincts.

Clearly Flamini has been asked cover for Coquelin, but considering we’ve conceded seven goals in our last two league games on the road, it’s safe to say he’s not quite doing the job as well as his younger compatriot.

Our recent porousness away from home was something Arsene was asked about at his press conference today and he suggested he was stumped as to why we’re suddenly less secure defensively, but I’m sure he’s more than aware our central midfield injuries provide an obvious explanation. Hopefully Elneny will help to remedy that issue as soon as possible.

Back with a Stoke preview on Saturday.

Until then.

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