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 72 hours, Arsene Wenger said on Friday.
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.
Speaking at his media briefing on Friday morning, Wenger admitted for the first time that Arsenal are close to signing the Egypt international.
Asked about Elneny, the manager said: “It’s complicated a little bit but we work hard on it. I hope in the next 2-3 days we get to the end of it.”
The midfielder 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.
The only remaining hurdle to the deal being formalised is that the 23-year-old Egyptian must wait for clearance on a work permit.
Wenger is confident that Elneny, who has won 40 caps for the Egypt national team, will now be given the green light to complete the protracted transfer.
Wenger has sanctioned an early January 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.