Over the last few years we have seen Arsenal’s defensive capabilities greatly improve and this is largely down to the fact that the Gunners have finally got some talent when it comes to men at the back. The likes of Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi have tightened that Arsenal back line so far this season and Mustafi’s introduction to the club specifically has had a great influence on the team. However things could have been very different for the Gunners this season, so much so that Mustafi may have never come to North London, had Arsene Wenger pulled another transfer off.
Cast your mind back to the Summer of 2015 and Arsenal were linked with a number of defenders, with Arsene Wenger keen to strengthen his back four. Arsenal had signed Gabriel in January 2015, but the player was struggling to settle in North London, making Wenger consider other options. One player who reportedly took the Frenchman’s fancy was Elneny’s former teammate Fabian Schar.
Schar, who was at Basel with Elneny at the time, was impressing a number of European clubs and was highly touted for a move to the club in the summer of 2015. A move to Arsenal however never materialised and it was Elneny who eventually made the move from Basel to London.
Now Elneny didn’t join until January this year, although it does seem like he’s been at the club much longer. Elneny recently told the media about his move to Arsenal and exactly how the Gunners came about signing him following on from their interest in his Basel teammate Fabian Schar.
Elneny said: “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. He told me that Arsenal officials were scouting Fabian Schär in the first place, and that’s when they noticed me. All of us at Basel knew that Schär was linked with Arsenal and at the season’s end, we congratulated him as the move was close to completion, according to Schär himself. But afterwards, things changed quickly. My agent told me that Arsenal officials came many times to watch Schär but they were impressed every time by my performances and development and they went on to sign me instead.”
Arsenal actually only paid a reported £5 million for Elneny and although the player isn’t the most talented of players in the squad, he is worth well over his value and plays an important role when on the pitch. £5 million in today’s current transfer market is an absolute steal and Elneny is a signing Wenger should be proud of given the price he paid for the player.
Had Elneny not joined however and it was Schar instead who was making his way to the Emirates, it’s unlikely we would have seen this budding partnership that has grown between Mustafi and Koscielny. What makes me wonder however is how exactly Wenger plans to buy a defender and comes away signing a midfielder? Care to explain that one Le Prof?
In my opinion this is the best back four we’ve had for quite some time, certainly since the end of the ‘invincibles’ team and I think with the current defence we have, the team can make great strides towards challenging for major honours.
Unfortunately for Fabian Schar however, there is no longer any room at the Arsenal inn.