A few weeks back it was reported that Arsenal midfielder Gedion Zelalem was a transfer target for Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, after they supposedly declared an interest in signing the player in a permanent deal.
The player was set for talks with Arsene Wenger and the club, about whether he has a future at Arsenal, or if he should consider a move away. However despite it not being public knowledge of whether or not Dortmund did indeed make Arsenal or the player himself an offer, it seems that Zelalem will instead be heading to the Netherlands.
Today’s report in the Metro suggests that Zelalem is currently in talks with Dutch second tier side VVV Venlo, a club that I’m personally quite surprised to hear has struck a deal with Arsenal. Arsene Wenger is reportedly keen on the German born midfielder making Holland his next career destination, as he looks to attain valuable experience before returning to the Gunners. Last season I was shocked by his move to Rangers and once again I’m surprised at the choice of club. This is because I thought if Wenger was keen to send the player out on loan, then it would at least be either in England or a more competitive league across Europe. However a move to the second tier of the Netherlands doesn’t exactly strike many people as the ideal destination for the player.
When Zelalem broke onto the scene at Arsenal a few seasons back, there was plenty of potential surrounding his future. Zelalem was nailed on to break into the side soon after the likes of Ramsey and Wilshere; however the USA under 23 player has never seemed to make the cut. Zelalem has made an appearance with the Arsenal first team squad on a number of occasions, but is yet to really evidence the claims that he could have a very bright future at the club. One of the main concerns was the player’s physicality, especially since his slim build didn’t offer him much strength and protection when on the ball. His physicality left him vulnerable to incoming opponents and I think that’s something the club has looked to build on, unfortunately to no avail.
It’s reported that if Zelalem does agree terms with VVV Venlo, then Arsene Wenger will look to secure a new contract with the player before he leaves on loan. Zelalem is apparently out of contract in the summer and regardless if Wenger has plans for the player in the future or not, I think he’ll been keen to avoid losing the player for free come June. After all, the last thing we want is another Gnabry situation in which many only come to recognise how good the player is, after he’s moved on from playing his trade in North London.
In my opinion the player needs to work on his game and his physical strength if he has hopes of asserting himself at Arsenal. There’s still a long way to go for the player, but with the right mentality and hopefully a good experience in the Nertherlands, there’s every chance that we may not have seen the last of Zelalem just yet.