VVV-Venlo winger Gedion Zelalem has picked up an ACL injury which will sideline him for the majority of the 2017/18 season, and now his future at parent club Arsenal is in the balance.
According to football.london, the Berlin-born USA U20 international was representing his country in the 2017 U20 World Cup in South Korea and ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in Monday’s 3-3 draw with Ecuador. He came off after just 34 minutes and could be out of action for up to nine months.
The timing couldn’t be worse for Zelalem as he enters the final year of his contract at Arsenal. Signed from Walter John HS in 2013, the talented midfielder has been loaned out to the likes of Scottish Premiership side Rangers and Dutch Jupiler League side VVV-Venlo, in addition to playing for the Arsenal youth teams, to continue his development.
But with his current deal at the club ending in the summer of 2018, and his current injury likely to keep him out of action until early Spring next year, Zelalem could be let go. While a promising star, he’s turns 21 in January 2018, an age that should see him at least on the fringes of the first-team.
He made eight league appearances for Venlo in the Dutch second tier, and eight appearances in the Premier League 2 for the Arsenal reserves, so he’s still some distance away from challenging for senior football at the Gunners – having racked up just 80 minutes of playing time for the first-team in four years.
As a result, Zelalem may well be considering his future at the Emirates Stadium unless he can return from his ACL injury sooner than anticipated to stand a chance of earning a contract extension next season.