Time for Gedion Zelalem to enter the stage


Most of us are hoping for one more quality addition. Let us not make the mistake to think the boss is not looking at who is, or could become, available out there. He likes a bargain and to get one, timing is crucial. The paradox is that the nearer we get to the end of the transfer window the bigger the chance we will end up with a player: a little time left is much better than a lot. It is much easier to catch a mouse when its backside is against the wall. And wouldn’t it be great if the transfer window lasted just 48 hours twice a year?

The club knows which players are available and which clubs need to balance the books, but as long as there is time left in the transfer window, negotiation power is with the seller rather than the buyer; and on the last day this changes dramatically. However, it is not without risk and we could end up with nothing or a second/third choice option.

As per 17HT’s last post, it is crucial to only add a player who fills a gap, or increases the overall quality of the team. Shop therapy is not for Arsene and we can consider ourselves lucky that he has this attitude. It is all about balance and our squad is really good as it is: only something special will improve it.

The one big strength – our USP- we have to offer is ‘growth from within’. Nobody else in the top six comes anywhere near us in this respect. And as we have seen in the past with the likes of Ajax and Barcelona, growing a team based around a strong philosophy and the right mix of talent and experience can be a fantastic formula for positioning a team at the very top for a long period.

Arsene has only been able to keep his best players for a few years now. I don’t think it is a coincidence that we have won a couple of FA cups, and two Charity Shields from our oil-doped rivals, in the same period.

Seeing Coquelin and Bellerin come through to the top team is something that most of us enjoy. Yet, it is something that very few top clubs try out anymore. Arsene now builds his team on the basis of growing the team from within, for which he is prepared to take a bit of risk, and add experience quality when required – the Monreal and Debuchys of recent years – and occasionally the world class that becomes available… Ozil, Alexis, and yes, Cech!

It is great that we will be able to see this new Arsene revolution unfold in front of us and that we support a club that can do this. We can expect to see him build further on a very good core team which is on average young enough to grow further to one or more levels in the next few years.

I am not sure whether we will see any up and coming players come through this season. Having had two progressing last season, it is unlikely to be repeated for a while. And with Arsene letting so many of the youngsters go on loan this season seems to support this.

The one who still has not gone out on loan as far as I know, but was linked with a loan move to Glasgow Rangers this week, and who could be this season’s breakthrough youngster for me, is Zelalem. I don’t think he will have an impact like Coquelin or Bellerin  had last season, but he could definitely add something to our team. I reckon it is time to give him more time in our Arsenal first team. With Wilshere and Rosicky regularly injured and Ozil needing a rest now and again, I reckon the young German-American should get an opportunity to show us what he has got. He might almost be as exciting as a brand new signing… almost! 😉

So my tip to make progress from within our team is Gedion; but what do you think fine fellow Gooners?

Written by: TotalArsenal.


39 thoughts on “Time for Gedion Zelalem to enter the stage

  • agree fully zelalem is the next big thing imo
    tho he needs to play tegularly first to get rhythm and beef up a bit
    i think the rangers loan will be good for him as it is an intimidating league which should put him in good staed for the PL over the coming seasons imo.

  • Interesting post TA! I’m really hoping Arsene actually structures the squad so as to afford more youth prospects game time. Bellerin and Coquelin essentially got their opportunities last season on account of being the last available option following a glut of injuries. I’d really love to see the 3rd choice option in each position being a youth player. I think that approach provides a better balance between squad depth (i.e. still allowing for a senior squad of 22 players or 2 senior players in each position) and providing young players at the club with a more realistic pathway to the first team. I think that would also make Arsenal a more attractive prospect for promising young player.

    In terms of my picks for emerging talent from Arsenal’s current youth ranks, I agree 100% with you TA on Zelalem. Would love to see him positioned as 3rd choice behind Ozil and Rosicky in the central attacking midfielder peck order. With Rosicky unavailable for an extended period of time and Ozil invariably going to need a rest at some point, I’m hoping Zelalem will get an opportunity to make his Premier League debut.

    The other emerging talent which I’m hoping will make a break through this season is Bielik. I really think this kid has enormous potential as a defensive midfield in our current setup. Despite his youth he is already built like a man and from what I’ve seen is very adept at making interceptions and tackling. His distribution pretty good also. With Coquelin our undisputed number one in this role and Arteta the experienced deputy, I would like to see Bielik positioned as third choice. With the physical nature of the defensive midfield role, opportunities are likely to emerge for Bielik. It’s just a question of whether Wenger will afford him those opportunities or play a member of the senior squad out of position.

  • Your post has got me thinking more broadly TA about the clubs 3rd choice options in each position. Forgetting the fact that a number of players are currently out on loan, this is my thinking:

    GK – Cech; Szczesny (Martinez – 23 year old)
    RB – Debuchy; Jenkinson (Bellerin – 20)
    CB – Mertesacker & Koscielny; Chambers & Gabriel (Hayden – 20; O’Connor – 18)
    LB – Monreal; Gibbs; (Bola – 18)
    CDM – Coquelin; Arteta (Bielik – 18)
    CM – Cazorla; Wilshere (Crowley – 17)
    CAM – Ozil; Rosicky (Zelalem – 18)
    RW – Ramsey; Toral (Iwobi – 19)
    CF – Giroud; Walcott (Akpom – 20)
    LW – Sanchez; Ox; (Gnabry – 20)

    On that basis, I think the following senior squad players are redundant:
    GK – Ospina
    CDM – Flamini;
    RW – Campbell
    CF – Welbeck

    It also highlight some weaknesses at youth level in the left back and centre back positions.

  • Zelalem will be a star but it is too soon for the PL. He has the talent, but he’s a little guy and teams like Chelsea and Stoke will crock him. I would hate to see him suffer like Wilshire, Diaby, and Ramsey, who were deliberately injured by far lesser talents simply because they were good, young players. If anyone saw that story about the guy who destroyed Diaby’s career, I hope you puked too. He’s sick of being the guy who ruined Diaby’s career. Well, I’m sick of scum sucking thugs like him and Skrtl, and Shawcross stomping on ankles and getting away with it. Dan Smith whines about being blamed for Diaby’s injuries. He should have gone to jail. Diaby, when fit, showed enormous promise. Dan Smith was a no-talent hack sent in to dish out punishment to keep Arsenal from humiliating a wretched Sunderland side. Similarly, Shawcross deliberately stomped on Ramsey. He should have been banned for life. If I was Arsenal’s manager I would sign a player from League 2; a big, nasty, weekend footballer, pay him £1 million or so and send him out against Stoke and put a stop to Shawcross for good. Ditto for Ramirez and John Obi Mikel. Those goons crunch their betters and turn the game ugly. If Arsenal had a designated destroyer on the bench, and after one or two cheap shots from Mikel, he got up and subbed in for Ramsey, you wouldn’t see teams go after Arsenal’s flair players. I would love to see Martin Skrtl lying face down on the turf for a change.

  • Good Morning all. I believe my last comment on here was about Gedion Zelalem.

    In terms of the future, he is the natural successor to Ozil.
    In a time frame of 3 seasons, he could be the real deal. An absolute super star.
    But imo, this loan period could set him back. He is not a Crowley/Wilshere type who have that slightly cocky, arrogant attitude at a young age. He has only just found his feet after TWO Under 21 games. That, as I predicted, came about because of the absence of Crowley.

    But to push him up a level is not really the problem. He is not afraid of the physical battles. He has the skills to deal with that. It is his mental age of development that requires the most attention.
    Remember, he came from the USA as a 16 year old. A ‘laid back’ character with tremendous promise. It has taken nearly 2 years to get him to fully express himself on the pitch on a regular basis. Glimpses of that talent on pre-season tours have followed by many games where he ‘disappears’ in regular games, even at the lower level.
    To see him at his very best, look up the second game which he played for the American Under 20’s earlier this summer, where he came on as a late substitute. In the video that focus’s on him, showed he had 28 touches of the ball, lost possession once, yes, ONCE! But he transformed the out come of that match with a spectacular display of skill and vision. Note, the opposition were big, physical players.
    The next game he bombed out. Not the same player.

    The reason, I think is simple. Both his laid back character, and the position he plays, where he his a supplier to others, means he will defer to senior or more demanding players in his own team. At this moment in time, he has not got the confidence to say ‘No!’, even if he could do more with the ball than anybody else(and that probably takes him right up to Ozil himself?). So, two games into the Under 21 season at last he is starting to believe that. Partly, as i say, because of the lack of competition from the more demanding Crowley.

    What will he achieve by going to Rangers now? Both the added pressure of moving away from the comforts of his home environment, and the pressure of ‘must win’ games, he has to start afresh. He will have to compete with senior players carrying the ‘loanee’ tag, not as a Rangers player.
    Not a sensible move. if it is sink or swim, I fear the worst. Not because I think he is weak, and he would ‘bottle it’ the moment he meets pressure in a vital EPL or CL game for us further down the line. I just think the timing sucks.

  • Paul, an attractive idea having a nasty French destroyer in the team hahaha 🙂

    I think players are better protected now and Gedion is smart to avoid trouble when it’s coming, but yes, I feel he would do better staying at Arsenal for now.

  • Niece one Freddie, I reckon you need to move Bellerin to the front and Debuchy to the middle. From that overview it looks like we need another quality mid-winger…

  • Cockie,
    Ha ha ha ha
    Charlie must have loved that 1, his mrs must have been cracking up.
    Good piece and I would like to see it.
    TA & Gerry,
    You 2 and the other guys above have clearly seen more of him then myself.
    I must say I have seen any of the u21 this season but will try to now.
    I was very impressed by Iwobi in preseason though, that kid looks set to be a star.
    He also did it v good sides in the Emirates cup so he could be in line before Zaleem IMO but I don’t know more then you guys about the u21 in fact clearly a lot less.

    But without a doubt we have a unique club and manager in bringing though youth players and very proud of that we should be.
    Buying other players blocks there path and many young players will (have) always favoured a move to us because of this, so under Wenger we should keep this up.
    Else what is the point in have a youth side?
    Have a good day peeps!
    Let’s hope for some upsets for our rivals 🙂
    Them pestty white walks , there turn yours eyes blue as well .

  • TA

    According to this mornings news.. I think your timing is “perfect”… Believe he just signed loan deal, but not 100% certain.

    In either event, he is a next one the rank I think. Saw him in Auckland during under 21 World Cup in June. The US and other teams were staying in the same hotel I was at for a conference, and saw him several times. To say he is slight, vs say Shawcross per other posters, is overstating his size. Still he has some height and is very smooth on field as I got to see some games on TV at a real hour in my time zone..

    Definitely a “some day” player.. and perhaps some day soon.

    Tho, from my last post comments, I would like a DM type of some form should I be declared emperor for the day.

    cheers — jgc

  • Gazza is on soccer am at the mo
    Good to see him smiling and looking happy
    Even if he is an ex spud player and scored that free kick v us at wembley
    Actually piss off Gazza !
    Only joking his a Geordie really anyway

  • Just checked

    Loan talked up hugely but not 100% yet so perhaps he stays.. I would rather see him go somewhere other than Scotland where the game wont suit his skills

    Oh and it was the U19 WC, sorry…

    cheers — jgc

  • Professor,
    You get around chap, rubbing shoulders with the future stars and all.
    I to think we could do with a destroyer DM
    That would satisfy me, though I to hold big hopes for Belik as Wenger clearly does else he would not of been signedx which was for quite big money for a player of his age

  • Cheers Geoff,

    From a young age I learned the Wicky the Viking principle: if you are not build big and nasty, you gotta be clever and anticipate what’s going to come.. 🙂

  • Couldn’t agree more TA about Arsenal’s need for another right winger. Personally I would prefer an inverted winger in the mould of Sanchez stationed on the right wing as opposed to a more traditional right footed crossing winger. The main attributes though is that the player is a hard working goal scoring winger because the players deployed in the right wing position last season (namely Ox and Welbeck) really struggled to contribute to Arsenal’s goals tally from that position.

  • PG

    I *did* rub shoulders with him, in actual fact. The elevator was crowded you see…

    (True story!) — jgc

  • TA,

    sometimes that aint enough… The French certainly anticipated the Germans in 1940, and the Poles before them (among many), but all the clever in the world wasn’t going to change that outcome…

    cheers — jgc

  • Professor,
    Great stuff, great company.
    Thanks skipper, he looks to be really ready
    I think if he is on the bench and we are in a comfortable position then a sub appearance from Iwobi could come very soon, be good to bed him in when he is in a confident mood.
    Also Rennes-Adelaide ? Maybe

  • Skipper Total,
    I believe Gazza is the best player England has ever made.
    I would have loved to see or had seen him in an Arsenal shirt.
    A real football magican he had it all

  • Maybe the French were more clever than you think, Geoff. They calculated the risk and chose the least bad option, no? But I am talking about the individual not whole nations anyway.. 🙂

  • Top lad me is, very nice manner he has very much like Ramsey.
    He explained exactly what we wee just saying in that arsenal was the right place for him as a young player. He said he is very happy here.
    This is why Wenger must keep his philosophy IMO
    I would like to see him play v the pool on Monday , he said it was so far his best match for us so far and I hope he can score v them again.

  • ManU cannot breakthrough vs Toonies and it finishes nil-nil… I wanted to watch a little just to see what United are up to as well as to scout our final opponent (Newcastle) before the end of the window and the first Int’l break… Inneresting, kind of, and there was one moment of real action right at the end as Smalling hit post from a corner kick but then Toonies had the real chance on the break. New signing Thauvin was just a little leggy and couldn’t get the winning touch on the cross-shot from Pappis Cisse… Ah well… 😀

    On this topic…I’m pretty sure GZ is gonna be playing up your way TA so you should go and watch him and give us the firsthand! Rangers *should* be a good spot for him as they will be trying to get back to the first league via technique…Breaking down the various parked (Scottish) busses and all that… Maybe the collective desire to restore the Old Firm rivalry will have the entire country protecting our man (boy). After all, the Scots are a civilized bunch and wouldn’t want to do damage to America’s (and Arsenal’s) great hope. Didn’t they build a wall to keep the English out?… 😀 Of course I cannot contribute anything except 2nd hand opinion on the topic so I’ll give this one up: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/aug/19/gedion-zelalem-usa-soccer-star-arsenal-rangers

    Very good to see Gerry back in the comments…Like I say, I don’t go very deep when it comes to the scouting of the youth players, so all actual observations are appreciated. I think TA is right when he notes that we love stories like Bellerin and Coquelin but, indeed, they are bound to be few and far between. They stand in stark contrast to the constant screaming for new signings which would supplant each and every one of them.

    IMO, “it’s all good” (as we say out here) and our players have to develop one way or the other. I hope the loan players do well and I’m always happy whenever I see players (at any club) who have Arsenal roots. So, good luck up there to GZ (and to the other loanees in all the spots to which they have gone)… The depth in our first team is what allows these opportunities, so that’s not such a bad thing either….

  • Off topic:

    Bendtner has scored three goals in four cameos for Wolfsburg this season. A pure goal-machine, The Tap-inator!

    Djorou scored a winner against Stuttgart, it was a copy of Vermaelen’s goal against Newcastle in 2012. Brilliant goal.
    Sign them back Arsene! 😀

  • I`ve seen a lot of this boy on vids and he has some outrageous talent, he can dribble and sees “The Pass” which others ten years older do not see and that in some ways reminds me of DB10 !.
    He seems to have so much time on the ball and looks so relaxed that he could probably wear a smoking jacket and cravat whilst reading the Times newspaper when he makes a slide rule pass !.
    However, I think he needs to beef up a bit and also it`s hard for him to play at the moment when his position is so well stacked in numbers in the current squad !.
    Will be some player as will Crowley !.

  • I agree with all of that. Like jgc I saw him play for the USA at the U-20 World Cup and he was fantastic in an advanced playmaker role, without doubt one of the best midfielders in the tournament. He appears to have so much time and composure on the ball even when opposition players are surrounding him. Of our current squad his style is a little like Mesut Ozil – and it is in covering for him that I see we can best develop GZ this season. Going to Rangers for a season would be a mistake I feel, because he needs to grow accustomed to playing at Premier League pace if he is to develop further.

  • Great post Total, or should that be McTotal..? 😀

    Zelalem has also had offers from English clubs (Fulham was one) so could have stayed down here, so maybe he’s stronger mentally than we think, by taking the Rangers option?

    Not sure that any youngster is gonna do a Bellerin/Coquelin this season, but I like Iwobi & Adelaide, from those not on loan.
    Bielik should have a few ‘tasters’ although Gatting has been using him at Centre-back and leaving O’Connor ( he’s good) on the bench…
    Not sure if this is intended to widen his understanding of the Def/mid job in relation to protecting his centre-backs? But he is more comfortable in m/f so I am reliably told.

  • We have quite an interesting bunch out on loan this season.
    In past seasons I’ve sometimes felt, rightly or wrongly, that youngsters have gone out on loan in order to put them in the shop window.
    But I feel that we have several loanees with real 1st team potential, out there learning their trade at the coal-face and aying in more meaningful matches than at Academy level and this should bring them on and make them more prepared to push into the 1st team squad at Arsenal, if they are, in fact, good enough.

    Total, just one last question.
    Now that you are living in Jockland, are you going to get an Orange tartan kilt made? 😉
    Night All.

  • Guys,

    Caught the manu** game last night. They could have lost if the Newcastle attacker has longer legs to touch the ball.

    For us, I agree that Zelalem should stay at Arsenal and play in the cups. That would be very crucial for him than playing in the Scottish league.

    And very nice for Gerry to come back and get some comments, continuing where he left off. Yes Gerry I agree with you. But not all Scottish league teams play tough tackling footy and although I do not know about the Gers I am sure they will be trying all sort of ways to get back to the SPL.


  • I am donning one as we speak, whilst having haggis for breakie, Allezkev 😛

    Fine comments yesterday and good to see how many believe GZ is a special talent. I mean, even Cockie rates him…. 😀

    Being able to have ‘time on the ball’ when most others are working their socks off to keep up, is indeed a special skill. GZ reminds me more of Cesc than Mesut at this stage but either will do for him going fwd.

  • New Post New Post 🙂

    Prepare yourself for a great, energizing preview by our new king of previews – written in the lofty hills of Lake Tahoe 🙂

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