by Mathew Nash
Arsenal are OK for a transfer battle – but the starlet is wanted by three different nations for international football.
There is no doubting which Arsenal youngster is causing the biggest stir with the club’s fans at the moment – Gedion Zelalem.
The 17-year-old midfielder caught the eye in pre-season and those in the know have already dubbed him the best thing to come from the academy since Cesc Fabregas.
The teenager who reportedly ‘dribbles like Iniesta and passes like Xavi’ is all set to become a pro at the club – with reports in January suggesting that had already been agreed. Judging by the fact he is training with the first-team nearly every day – it seems he is certainly one for the future already.
But while Arsenal seem to be OK in terms of a club battle for his signature – on the international scene it is a different story.
Just like Adnan Januzaj of Manchester United, Zelalem has a plethora of choices to make concerning his international football career.
Born in Berlin, Germany to Ethiopian parents he lived in the USA from 2006 until he made the move to Arsenal in 2013.
So he has three options for his international career – Ethiopia, Germany or USA.
He has already featured for Germany’s under-15, under-16 and under-17 outfits – but has so far refused to confirm his intention to play international football for Die Mannschaft.
He is also wanted by Ethiopia – whose foreign minister Adhanom Tedros stated in October, via Twitter, the following invite:
“Hi Gedion… we hope you will play for Ethiopia soon.”
And now the USA want a piece of the action.
They previously tried to get him playing for the country’s youth teams – but as he is not a US citizen that could not happen.
He still trained with the US under-16’s – but cannot play for them until considered a citizen of the United States of America.
And now a group of ‘soccer’ fans are petitioning (rather tongue in cheek) to have Zelalem ‘fast-tracked’ to becoming a US citizen – so he can play for the USMNT.
The petition – named “Americans for Gedion” states its case toward President Barack Obama and US Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati:
“We appreciate your positions as leaders of our nation, and we humbly ask you to turn your back on ethics and morality and do whatever it takes to get Gedion Zelalem to the US National Team.”
So while Arsenal seem OK in terms of a transfer scrap – a battle still wages on in a war over Zelalem’s future national allegiance.
Who should Zelalem play international football for?