Arsenal are set to lose one of their bright young players, as American midfielder Gedion Zelalem is closing in on a move to Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.
Sources close to ESPN have informed them that United States U23 international is closing in on a move to Dortmund. The 19-year-old midfielder is believed to be frustrated at his lack of first team opportunities, and the German club are looking to capitalize on this.
Zelalem joined the Gunners in 2013 as an academy player, playing in the U16 and then U21 side. He is a very highly rated attacking midfielder, with many an analyst touting him as ‘the next big thing’.
Zelalem is relatively well known in Germany, having represented the nation at the U16 level. However, he switched allegiances to the United States of America in late 2014, and is now playing for the USA U20 side.
The report states that the teenager wants to return to Germany and that his father Zelalem Wolydes is a Borussia Dortmund fan, which could be a big factor in his potential move to the Signal Iduna Park.
Zelalem’s contract at Arsenal runs out this coming summer and that leaves Dortmund in a strong position to negotiate. He is rated at a paltry €250,000 by transfermarkt.com, and this is close to the price Arsenal will probably end up receiving for the player.
The 19-year-old attacking midfielder had a relatively successful campaign last time around with Scottish club Rangers. Zelalem made 28 appearances for them in all competitions, gaining some much needed experience in top tier football.
However, that hasn’t translated into a bigger role at Arsenal. The teenager just has two appearances for the Gunners in the League Cup, both of them being late cameos from the substitutes bench. It looks unlikely that Zelalem will feature too prominently in the future plans of the club.
Things may be different at Borussia Dortmund though. BVB can boast of a crop of some of the most highly rated youngsters in the world, including the likes of Emre Mor, Ousmane Dembele and Christian Pulisic.
All three of them are progressing steadily at Dortmund, and Zelalem may soon join them under the tutelage of Thomas Tuchel and the other BVB coaches.