Arsenal’s 18-year-old creative midfielder, Gedion Zelalem, has joined Scottish side Rangers on a loan spell – initially up until January with a possible extension in place until the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
The talented Berlin-born Ethiopan, who plays for the American U20 side, has gradually asserted his credentials as one of the Gunners most promising youngsters after he integrated into the U18 team two years ago.
He has already featured for the first-team, having made a twenty minute cameo during the FA Cup victory over Coventry in January 2014. He also made his official UEFA Champions League debut last term, playing 45 minutes in the 4-1 victory away from home against Turkish giants Galatasaray.
Though his technical ability is unquestioned, his physical strength is not. The teenager has a relatively small frame and although he continues to do gym work to improve his physical endurance, which he’ll benefit from when he gets used to the rigours of the Premier League, he needs regular first-team football and competitive experience.
At Rangers he’ll get just that. Last week Zelalem was reportedly close to a loan move and, although plenty of clubs were interested in his services, Rangers have sealed his signature on a temporary basis.
He was pictured in the stands during their 1-0 home victory over Hibernian on Sunday afternoon, and the club officially confirmed his arrival soon afterwards.
His new boss Mark Warburton, had this to say about the talented teen:
“It’s nice to have him on board and a lot of work has been done, I’m thankful to some really good people at Arsenal and the work done by people here at Rangers. There is no doubt he is a very talented young player and I’m sure he’ll have an impact for us.”
“But like all of them [the players], there are no guarantees. He’ll have to work hard and earn his pitch time, which I’m sure he’ll do. He’s here until January with a view to extending if all goes well. That’s about making sure he’s right for us and him making sure we’re right for him – with a young player, it’s always good to have that option.”