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Gedion Zelalem: Meet Arsenal and (Potentially) USMNT’s Newest Star

USA Gedion Zelalem

MLS Soccer/ Twitter/ @MLS

Jürgen Klinsmann began “recruiting” young German-American citizens as soon as he was named head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team. So far this has culminated in the arrival of a potential star in World Cup goal-scoring Julian Green, and the announcement that 17-year old Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem is being chased by the Stars & Stripes as well. Green, who plays for the reserves at Bayern Munich, received acclaim from coaches and scouts for his vision and athleticism, but is still a young player with a lot of work to do before he makes it to the first team squad in a top European league.

However, Zelalem is a completely different story. Arsene Wenger, the manager at Arsenal, has come out as saying that Zelalem has the skills and talent to become a very important player for the club. This is high praise from a man whose staff specializes in recognizing and developing some of the best young players in the world. With Arsenal playing in the UEFA Champions League as well as having a legitimate chance to win the EPL, Zelalem will see playing time this season. However, we must be patient, because, according to Wenger, he is still about six months away from seeing first team time.

Zelalem has shown out in the reserve and youth leagues as well as exploded onto the scene during Arsenal’s friendly tour of Asia in 2013. Here is a highlight video so you can see what this exciting player can do for yourself, instead of me just babbling on about how talented and skilled he is.

Not only does the Arsenal staff specialize in developing young players, but the team currently holds the best passing midfielder in the world (statistically) over the last few season, Mesut Özil. Zelalem will continue to benefit from watching and learning from the world class players like Özil around him. Remember, at 17, Zelalem is 6’1 and just 147 pounds. Most young men continue to grow until their early twenties, and I’m sure he’ll put on a bit of muscle weight now that he’s got the full attention of the Arsenal first team.

Per AFC manager Arsene Wenger, we will receive our first glimpse of the 17-year old today at 5PM EST on ESPN2 when Arsenal takes on the New York Red Bulls in a friendly, and, hopefully he performs up to expectations. The sky is the limit for this talented midfielder, and the USMNT will benefit from his rise to fame and the confidence his coaches seem to have in him.

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Taylor Sturm is a Columnist for StoppageTimeSoccer.net. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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