By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes| Premier League expert with experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this
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Arsenal are set to complete the signing of Mohamed Elneny within the next 48 hours and then step up their search for two more players in the January window, Football Insider sources understand.
Elneny has agreed the terms of a four-and-a-half-year contract with Arsenal worth £65,000-a-week and the Gunners’ bid of £5.2million has been accepted by Basle. The deal is a combined £20.4million.
He underwent a medical in Paris last week and is now set to move permanently from Switzerland to London after being left out of Basle’s training session on Tuesday morning.
“Absent was Mohamed Elneny, for who there could be a transfer in the coming days,” a statement on the Basle website read on Tuesday.
An Arsenal source told Football Insider that the proposed transfer to Arsenal is now ’99 per cent done’, with the only remaining hurdle to the deal being formalised is that the 23-year-old Egyptian must wait for clearance on a work permit.
All parties are confident that Elneny, who has won 40 caps for the Egypt national team, should be given the green light for a work permit within the next 48 hours.
Manager Arsene Wenger has said that he will be “busy, that’s for sure” in the January window, and he could even bring in three new recruits this month.
Wenger’s first priority is to strengthen his midfield even though Arsenal won three of their four Premier League matches either side of the Christmas break to lead the Premier League table.
Wenger has sanctioned an early move for a central midfielder after long-term injuries robbed him of the services of first-choice pair Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla until at least March and possibly longer.
With Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta out of contract next summer, and Jack Wilshere still absent through injury, Wenger has given the go ahead to land Elneny.
Elneny fits the bill for Arsenal because of his pedigree, ability to play in a number of midfield positions and relatively good value.
He joined Basle, initially on loan, in January 2013 and has won three consecutive Swiss league titles with the club.