Arsenal manager Arsenal Wenger has backed new signing Mohamed Elneny to grow into a star at the club, as the Egypt midfielder gets set to make his Gunners debut on Sunday.
“I bought Elneny because he can play with a defensive player or be the defensive player,” Wenger explained during his press conference on Friday ahead of the clash with Stoke.
“I need to know more about him to see whether he becomes a defensive or box-to-box player.
“He’s a defensive midfielder who can contribute in an area that we are short.
“He is a promising player. I expect him to develop with us into a very strong player. He can defend and attack.
“He’s available for Sunday”
The Frenchman then hinted that Elneny will be his only arrival in the January window, when asked of he will buy more players.
He added: “I would prefer to have the players back from injuries. Welbeck is two to three weeks away and I am confident I will not find a better player than Welbeck on the market.”
When asked if Olivier Giroud is underestimated, Wenger replied: “Not in my opinion. If it still exists it will not last. People never deny evidence.”
Theo Walcott has spent 10 years at the club and Wenger praises the Englishman.
“Walcott came at 16 and went straight to the World Cup, it could have gone both ways,” he said.
“He did very well with the early fame. He was always very humble and receptive to advice.
“He had ups and downs due to bad injuries.
“He has become much more a team player.
“What I like when I saw him first was his movement off the ball. He has developed well as a technical player.”
Wenger insists Arsenal cannot take Stoke lightly.
He said: “We need the same intensity [as the Liverpool game] and the same desire and focus.
“The surprises in the league are happening again and again and again. The consistency of your determination will play a big part in this league.
“We have periods in the season where we are very solid defensively but in these two occasions we suddenly looked vulnerable.
“At Southampton we were jaded and against Liverpool we lacked calmness.
“Let’s be honest, we came out of a game (against Liverpool) and looked at it like two points dropped.
“On the other hand we were under pressure in the final 20 minutes.
“Overall it was a positive team peformance. We looked like a real team who’s up for the fight.
“The team has shown we are a real team.”
“We have struggled in recent years against Stoke. But they also have a good home record against United, City.
“They have improved their creative potential.
“They can create, they can play. It’s a good challenge for us.”
Wenger revealed Alexis Sanchez could be risked against Stoke.
“He has two decisive days. Today and tomorrow. He’s fit.
“Do we take a gamble or not on his injury?”