Arsene Wenger reveals Arsenal teenager Gedion Zelalem could be set for loan move

Gedion Zelalem

The Gunners boss is keen for his star prospect to make the step up from Under-21s football.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had told Pro Soccer Talk that teenage midfielder Gedion Zelalem could spend next season out on loan in order to get regular first-team minutes.

Zelalem, 18, has been billed as one of Arsenal’s most exciting talents since joining the club in 2013, earning comparisons to former captain Cesc Fabregas and impressing with the first-team during preseason.

However, the Berlin-born prospect has made just two senior cameos over the past 18 months and, with Under-21s football not quite testing him enough at this stage, he could be set to head out elsewhere for the 2015-16 campaign.

“It is possible [a loan move] but I always test the players in preseason,” said Wenger. “After preseason I make an assessment on how close they are to the first team. If he is not close next year then yes, he needs to play somewhere.”

At the same time, Zelalem has been making headlines across the pond after being cleared to feature for the US at the upcoming Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

The former German Under-17 international lived in the States between 2006 and 2013 and pledged his future to his adopted nation back in December after receiving his US citizenship.

FIFA had still not approved his one-time switch up until last week, however, forcing US Under-20 head coach Tab Ramos to leave one spot open on his initial roster while the team awaited word on Zelalem’s status.

The Gunners starlet was given the greenlight at the eleventh hour, though, and, with the chance to work under Jurgen Klinsmann in the senior setup down the road, Wenger is 100 per cent supportive of his decision.

“He is an interesting case because he has been educated until the age of 9-10 in Germany and then 10-15 in the States,” the Frenchman added. “That is maybe the age where you go out of the family and start to have friends. He felt he wanted to play for the States.

“Jurgen has all the knowledge that is needed at the top level. He has now started to have a good experience as a coach as well. It will be fantastic for him.”

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