London, Dec 28 (IANS) English football club Arsenal are in talks with FC Basel about signing their central midfielder Mohamed Elneny.
The 23-year-old Egypt international joined the Swiss club in 2013 and has won the league title in each of his three seasons there. The fee would reportedly be in the region of five million pounds and Elneny would require a work permit, BBC reported on Sunday.
He is eligible to play in the Champions League after Basel failed to qualify for this year’s group stage. Elneny featured in Basel’s home victory over Chelsea in the 2013-14 competition.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is keen to strengthen the midfield after Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla suffered serious knee injuries while Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta have also had spells on the sidelines and Jack Wilshere is still absent.
However, Elneny is seen by Wenger as a long-term part of the squad and not merely a stop-gap.
The ‘Gunners’ boss has also admitted he is unsure when Wilshere will return to action, but it will not be before February at the earliest. The England midfielder was expected to be out for three months when he had surgery in September on a hairline fracture of his left leg, but that estimate has now been extended.
“I said February but honestly I don’t know,” Wenger said as his side aims to respond positively to their 0-4 Premier League defeat at Southampton.
“I let him do his recovery. It’s going slowly. Once he goes again, goes outside to train, once he is back again into sharp, hard work physically, you count five or six weeks, so at the moment he is not there yet.”