Today, January 26th 2014, is Gedion Zelalem’s 17th birthday. It is an important one for both Zelalem and Arsenal as it means he is now able to sign a professional contract.
Arsenal that have been tracking him since he was 14 and playing in Maryland, America. Zelalem recently made his 1st team debut on Friday against Coventry in the FA Cup, becoming the first to play under Arsene Wenger having being born after the man took the managers position at Highbury.
Zelalem was greeted with expectant cheers from those who knew of him and then those who had never heard of him just to be polite. During the match I got the impression Zelalem wanted to be involved a lot more than he was, often getting about the pitch at wider areas to try and get involved (although that might have just been me wanting him to get a fairer share of the play). Zelalem’s debut was sort of dramaless, he wasn’t caught on the ball or muscled off of the ball which I almost expected but he didn’t do a lot of note; tidy was the way I would describe it. At no point was he overawed, or look like a boy playing a mans game.
At the moment Arsenal are overflowing at the in the middle of park, and for even a talent as great as Zelalem it will be hard to fit in, however, personally I don’t believe we will see the young German consistently in the first team for another year, maybe even 2 yet.
Zelalem is only able to sign a 2 year deal and their will of course be some sort of pre contract agreement. I don’t think Zelalem wants to leave but you never know, if Wenger were to play Zelalem consistently now, that leaves him open to much more media exposure than it would if he were to be playing for the U21’s. Again, I must reiterate that I highly doubt Gedion would want to leave, but a big money offer from a team such as Barcelona or Bayern Munich in a few years might be enough to turn the young mans head.