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No Longer a Secret: Gedion Zelalem Shines for Arsenal

A star is emerging for the Gunners in the Far East. Forget Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney. The sparking debut of a 16-year old midfielder with American ties is the most exciting development of the summer for Arsenal supporters.

Gedion Zelalem was born in Germany to an Ethopian father and was spotted by Arsenal scouts two years ago while playing for Olney Rangers Soccer club in Maryland. Upon arriving in North London, Zelalem completely skipped over the Arsenal under-18 team and jumped right into the reserves. His surprise inclusion in Arsene Wenger’s first-team squad for the club’s Asian tour has been validated by two impressive outings against the Indonesia Dream Team and Vietnam. Take a look:

Video 1 (Indonesia Dream Team):

Video 2 (Vietnam):

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Zelalem’s game is his vision. He has a remarkable ability to recognize the runs being made by his teammates and react quickly with an accurate through ball. Additionally, Zelalem’s composure on the ball is astounding given his age. Comparisons have already been made to Cesc Fabregas who possessed similar skills when he made his debut for the senior team in 2003 at age 16.

And Arsenal supporters should not be alone in their joy over Zelalem. According to an article published by The Washington Post last year, the 16-year old is trying to secure a U.S. passport, which would make him eligible to play for the red, white and blue of the USA. He has been involved in both the German and American youth systems, and his father is from Ethopia; so a big decision looms ahead for Zelalem.

In the meantime, Zelalem will need to get stronger, as his body is not currently equipped to fend off Premier League defenders (See 1:40 in the first video above). Of course, that will come as he gets older; and, barring a major injury bug (not uncommon at Arsenal), Zelalem will not need to play a major role this season. Arsene Wenger, if history is any evidence, will likely ease the young midfielder into the first team squad by way of the Capital One Cup.

Though he is a highly-rated young player, Arsene Wenger — and indeed the club as a whole — have been mum on Zelalem in an apparent effort to avoid the trap of high expectations. However, if he continues to shine on the pitch, Gedion Zelalem will force his way into the spotlight.

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  1. sadiq garamba

    July 22, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    his vision is extraordinary, his talent is beyond imagination his awareness on d ball is superb.i thnk dis is another fabregas though technically he is better but he has 2 improve physically. I wl advise hm to play 4 eaither germany os his native country ethiopia.i predict he wl be a super star i fore see hm becoming the best midfielder of his generation.mark my word!

  2. Marco Mehari

    July 20, 2013 at 3:06 am

    you guys r racists.why dont u write such kind of comments in ur ancestors newspapers.wakeup bros,we arent in z 17th century.abt Gedion surley he ll become one of z star player in z world n ll play for his motherland Ethiopia:z rising team of Africa.he belong to us n need him badly

  3. amusan hardeykunlay

    July 20, 2013 at 2:25 am

    I think is best and wish him best
    BUT pls create chnc for other young players to for first team

    like::::: eisfeild, miyaichi, joel campbel, and akpom .

  4. DiscoBallsDeep

    July 20, 2013 at 1:28 am

    1:55(1st vid) is disgusting…get this kid a passport, state department.

    • DiscoBallsDeep

      July 21, 2013 at 5:09 am

      disgusting meaning awesome.

  5. Psky

    July 20, 2013 at 12:30 am

    He is good, but how about eisfield and olsson they are good too and older. Akpom and zaha of man u who is better?

  6. arsenal-steve

    July 19, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Looks the best prospect I have seen since Jack Wilshire. It would be great if Arsene Wonga put him in the first team squad like Fabregas. This kid has that special something.

  7. Abdiwak

    July 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    If he gives creadit for where he belongs and for where does his father comes from and if he wants to rise his real country he should have to play for Ethiopia. Ethiopia hulem tifeligihalech!

  8. Sam

    July 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    I so want to believe. He seems to have that something to him that you can’t teach. I just hope he can stay free of the injuries that seem to hit all the recent Arsenal youth prospects.

  9. Davis

    July 19, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Oh how I hope he gets that US Passport…

    • Kagawa26

      July 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      If hes any good he will most likely choose germany. I am german and i doubt hes as any good as out next crop Max meier and Leo goretzka and Bittencourt. If hes an average player then he will play for the us or ethiopa.

      • Davis

        July 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

        The US national team is not “average”. It may not have the depth of the German team, but you can’t make an argument that is “average” among the teams of the world. If he is good and smart he will see that he could get more playing time in the US midfield than he could in Germany.

        • Kagawa26

          July 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

          If the Usa is not average then what is it?? The us cant even beat ghana. How is this trolling by stating a fact. I can name a few teams better than the Usa. England Brasil France Uruguay Japan Germany Spain GhanaArgentina Colombia Chile Belgium Denmark Holland Italy. Thats 15 teams that are better than the Us. The Usa is an average team and not one player would make it on to the german 23 man squad. I am a german-american so i root for both so i am not a troll. Eddie youare just stupid Germany fails to impress. Thats why they were the most entertaining team to watch in the 2010 WC and have broken the record for most WC finals.Beat germany in a friendly where none of the stars were playing for us. Everyone from Bvb and bayern didnt play so you barely beat the german kids 4-3. Not one starter played that friendly so that in itself proves your idiocy Eddie. Coongrats onbeating the kiddies Eddie.

          • joshua

            July 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

            what do you mean by even Ghana, you forget that the black stars are actually a decent team and who drew with the 3 lions in their home , be careful with ur comments

      • Eddie

        July 19, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        Screw you man US is on the rise while germany fails to impress in every competition they are in recently. And we beat you, remember. Even if it was a friendly.

      • FreddyFreak

        July 19, 2013 at 6:26 pm

        What is german for “troll”?

        • Guy

          July 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm

          Der trollen? 😉

      • edofcourse

        July 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm

        Relax boys. U.S. won WW II; Germany wins football (soccer) competitions. Just the way it is.

        Now, on the subject of the post – Gedion Zelalem.

        It might be surprising but neither the U.S. nor Germany teams really want him. On that note, lets wish him well.

      • Bob

        July 20, 2013 at 12:09 am

        US 4-3 Germany, so if US is average germany are below average. OK, they didn’t have all their good stars, but still.

      • Gooneratheart

        July 20, 2013 at 4:26 am

        gedion is still 16, he will develop physically, his technical side seems to be good enough in pre-season, game time experience is all he needs now.

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