Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny has passed his Arsenal medical, but must now be granted a special dispensation in order to qualify for his work permit before his proposed £7.3 million move to the Emirates can be completed, according to The Guardian.
The report suggests the 23-year-old Egyptian international has already agreed personal terms to join Arsenal from Swiss side Basel, where he is expected to be cover for the injured Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin. The deal is not over the line yet though, as Elneny must first overcome the hurdle of obtaining a United Kingdom work permit.
The problem in what at first seemed to be a very straight forward process, is the fact that the Pharaohs – as the Egyptian national team are known – have dropped out of Fifa’s top 50 ranked national teams.
Egypt slipped down in the rankings after failing to qualify for the last three Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, which has thrown a spanner into the works for Arsenal.
At the end of last season the Football Association introduced new legislation that required any none European Economic Area player to have played a minimum percentage of matches for their country’s national team during the previous two years, and that the country was also ranked as one of Fifa’s top 50 nations.
Egypt meanwhile, are currently ranked 57th, which runs afoul of the FA’s guidelines. The Guardian claim Arsenl will most likely have to appeal the initial ruling, but can expect special compensation for Elneny given the fact he has played for the Pharaohs in all their matches for the past 24 months.
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While Elneny might not be the dream signing Gooners wanted to see arrive this January, he could prove to be a bit of a surprise to everyone.
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