Arsenal Transfer News: Aleksandr Kokorin Urged to Sign, Mohamed Elneny Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2015

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - SEPTEMBER 05: Alexander Kokorin of Russia in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier Group G match between Russia and Sweden at the Arena Otkritie Stadium on September 05, 2015 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Epsilon/Getty Images)
Epsilon/Getty Images

Legendary Russian footballer Andrei Kanchelskis has encouraged his compatriot Aleksandr Kokorin to move to Arsenal in order to fulfil his potential.  

Reports in Russia from outlet Izvestia (h/t Colin Harvey of the Daily Star) have previously claimed the forward is close to making a move to the Gunners from Dynamo Moscow. Kanchelskis, who lit up the Premier League in spells at Manchester United and Everton, thinks it’d be an ideal move for him.

“The Russian championship is very weak and Aleksandr can progress at Arsenal,” said the former winger, per Reuters (via Alex Harris of the Daily Star). "Arsenal are the best option for Aleksandr’s career. If he is prepared to work a lot, he will not have any problems. He will not be like Andrei Arshavin and will become a top class forward for the London club.”

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Here’s a glimpse at what Kokorin could potentially offer if he were to make the move to the Emirates Stadium:

It’s easy to see why manager Arsene Wenger would be interested in the Russia international. Kokorin is a technical forward that’s sharp, strong in the air and adept at bringing team-mates into the game. But he hasn’t scaled the heights many expected of him after bursting onto the scene in the nascent stages of his career.

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He would most likely struggle for minutes at Arsenal, too. As we can here, courtesy of Squawka Football, in Olivier Giroud, the Gunners have one of the most consistent goalscorers in English football:

What’s worrying for Arsenal supporters who have hopes of a title challenge this season is that there isn’t much depth to this position. Granted, Theo Walcott did show he can do a good job in the role earlier in the campaign, but the Gunners have to completely change their style of play when he’s in the side.

Kokorin would be a decent alternative to Giroud and Walcott.
Kokorin would be a decent alternative to Giroud and Walcott.KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/Getty Images

Kokorin, while not stylistically comparable to either Giroud or Walcott, would be a happy medium between the two. Although he wouldn’t be guaranteed regular game time at the Emirates, he’d certainly be a useful acquisition for the Gunners if he were to sign. Given the calibre of Arsenal, it’s a chance the Russian would surely jump at.

Arsenal Eyeing Mohamed Elneny

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 5:  FC Basel 1893's midfielder Mohamed Elneny celebrates at the end of the UEFA Europa League match between Os Belenenses and FC Basel 1893 at Estadio do Restelo on November 5, 2015 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Gualter Fatia
Gualter Fatia/Getty Images

According to Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Mirror, Mohamed Elneny of FC Basel is a player potentially being looked at by Wenger as he seeks to alleviate Arsenal’s lack of quality defensive midfielders.

Kajumba claims the Gunners have been monitoring the Egyptian for a while now, and although they are keen on players like Victor Wanyama from Southhampton and Sporting Club’s William Carvalho, Elneny could potentially be a cheaper midseason signing, with a fee of £5 million noted.

Arsenal need a player who can provide support to Coquelin.
Arsenal need a player who can provide support to Coquelin.JUSTIN TALLIS/Getty Images

For Arsenal, he may well be a decent back-up option. Elneny has made significant progress with the Swiss side over the last couple of seasons and has impressed for Basel in their Europa League matches this campaign, netting two goals in five games.

But it’s his anticipation, tenacity in the tackle and ability to smartly recycle possession which will have caught the attention of Arsenal. Without Francis Coquelin’s authoritative presence in the middle of the park, the Gunners can have their soft underbelly exposed at times; Elneny, while he still has a lot of improvements to make, would help alleviate concerns in this facet of the squad.