Arsenal fans will be delighted to know that another bright talent is in the pipeline as Gedion Zelalem continues his development at the North London Club. Despite being born in Germany and starting off his youth career with Hertha Berlin, he moved to the United States shortly after and began playing for Washington, D.C. area based Olney Rangers.
Matt Pilkington, his coach in the States, soon rang Danny Karbassiyoon, Arsenal's North American scout, who began following Zelalem closely. After monitoring the midfielder for some time, Zelalem was invited over for several training stints.
He impressed enough to be offered a contract upon turning sixteen and has since made the move back to Europe to continue his footballing education. To date, he has featured for both the USA's and Germany's youth national teams. Though he doesn't possess an American passport, he has been called into the United States' domestic camps on several occasions and impressed. The fact that he was born in Germany and possesses a German passport will make things far easier for the European giants to secure his services as he gets older.
Though he is still quite young, the German-born Ethiopian has made giant strides in London and has trained with the first team on numerous occasions. His intelligence and technical ability make his age a non-factor and have helped make his physical limitations (he is still a kid and is still growing) far less of of a concern.
He hasn't featured for the first team or the U21's just yet, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will know just how to handle the young talent he has on his hands. Much anticipation surrounded Cesc Fabregas after he made his debut for the first team in 2003, but Wenger was cautious in his approach with his development - injuries and certain departures eventually opened doors for the young Spaniard to become a mainstay in Arsenal's first team.
It is still very early to make comparisons between Fabregas and Zelalem - afterall, one is a two time European Champion and World Cup winner, while one is still a sixteen year old with loads to prove. Despite the amount of work Zelalem does have ahead of him, the fact that he is getting the opportunity to train with the first team on occasion shows that there just might be something there.
Have you seen Zelalem play? Let us know your thoughts on and observations below.