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Zelalem named to Arsenal squad ahead of friendlies


First-team regulars Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez will return to Arsenal’s squad as the Premier League side begins final preparations for the Premier League, but a familiar U.S. international has also been included in the team.

Arsene Wenger has included U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Gedion Zelalem in the Gunners’ 25-man roster ahead of the squad’s trip to Scandinavia. Arsenal will face Viking FK of Norway on Friday before concluding their preseason friendlies two days later against Manchester City.

Zelalem, 19, is looking to make a final impression on Wenger this weekend in an attempt to remain with the Gunners first team for the upcoming 2016/17 season. Last year, Zelalem went out on loan with Scottish Premier League side Rangers, where the young American made 29 appearances across all competitions.

The USMNT midfielder has made three substitute appearances during the preseason, including in a 2-1 win against the MLS All-Stars. Zelalem recently featured for 25 minutes against Chivas Guadalajara, a match the Gunners also won, 3-1.

What do you expect from Zelalem? Would you like to see him go out on loan or remain with Arsenal?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Where does GZ play? Like, who is he behind in the USMNT depth chart for a position? Would he be pushing Bradley, Jones, or Bedoya (assuming the Copa America lineup we saw the most)? I don’t think he’s a winger on the front line of a 4-3-3, but I could be wrong.

    • To this point he’s been more of a Bradley style deeper sitting holding midfielder. Could be a replacement for MB after Russia when he would be 21 and Bradley would be 31 if he can find minutes somewhere. Not as aggressive of a ball winner as any of the three starters currently, but not surprising with a 19 year old. The other issue is he and Hyndman seem to have very similar styles, with neither showing a great desire to attack with the ball at their feet, which can lead to poor connection with the forwards if they are not being very active. Although Emerson played outwide for Fulham last season, so we’ll see where Bournemouth play him.

  2. The most important thing for a player are getting competitive games. I don’t see that happening for him at Arsenal this year, so I’d prefer if he went out on loan again. A 6 month loan will give him games and if he does well he can either come back to Arsenal (if they need him) or be extended.

    • Yes and no. Of course, competitive play is most important, but Arsenal are in a lot of cup competitions this season, so he could feature more now that he has some experience playing in a physically demanding league with quite a few appearances. In addition, constantly training with the first team will also help with the learning curve of the Premier League. Plus, his time at practice may make him that much more of a viable solution in the midfield for the Gunners during the season, regardless of competition. However, if he has zero chance of any playing time or just a substitute appearance once every month, then a loan would be much more beneficial. Considering the successful stint with Rangers, he could be loaned to a lower table Premier League team that will play him relatively frequently (Hull, Middlesbrough, Burnley, etc.).

      • Playing at the highest level with a team that plays a style similar to the parent club which exhibits a player’s strength(s) is the best. I actually think mid table Championship is better. He is not ready for mid table Premier League, and the bottom teams tend to play boot a ball.

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