Mohamed Elneny says Arsenal wanted to sign Basel team-mate Fabian Schar before noticing the Egyptian midfielder and ultimately bringing him to the Emirates.
The 24-year-old moved to north London in January 2016 after three years and four Swiss Super League titles with Basel.
However, Elneny says that when Arsenal first sent scouts to Switzerland it was in fact to watch the centre-back who now plays for Hoffenheim.
“I was very happy when I joined Arsenal but I asked one of my friends how the negotiations started and if they had scouted me before,” Elneny said via The Mirror.
“He told me that Arsenal officials were scouting Fabian Schar in the first place, and that’s when they noticed me.”
Elneny also claims that Schar was very close to a move to north London before ultimately heading for the Bundesliga.
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“All of us at Basel knew that Schar was linked with Arsenal and at every season’s end, we congratulated him as the move was close to completion, according to Schar himself. But afterwards, things changed quickly,” he added.
“My agent told me that Arsenal officials came many times to watch Schar but they were impressed every time by my performances and development and they went on to sign me instead.”
While Elneny may not have been Arsenal’s first choice, he has fitted in well at the Emirates and has made 13 appearances in all competitions so far this season.