There is much concentration on the Arsenal transfer rumours doing the rounds, but if you were Arsene Wenger you would also be looking at how our youth players are progressing to see if they are good enough to promote to the first team. Players like Serge Gnabry who has been brilliant for the U21s since he returned from injury, and now the young American Gordon Zelalem has wowed his fans at the FIFA U-20 World Cup this last week, before his side unluckily got beaten by Serbia on penalties in the Quarter-Final.
He has received such rave reviews that it may have gone to his head, as he now feels certain that he is ready to break into the Arsenal first team at the tender age of 18, and many watchers may well agree with him. “I’m going to go back for pre-season and try to get into the first team and play some games,” he said on FIFA.com. “If I can do that, great. If not, I’ll look to get out on loan somewhere. It’s a dream come true to be at a club like Arsenal and I want to get into the first team this season, play minutes and start matches. I have high expectations of myself and if I was to be starting week in, week out, I wouldn’t be surprised.”
The youngster has certainly been impressive, and he was extremely cool when scoring in the penalty shoot-out and showed that he can handle pressure at the highest levels. He said after the game: “I was pretty relaxed because you know with penalties that some people miss them – it’s just the way it is,”
“I would have been sad if I’d missed, but you know it happens. I didn’t feel much pressure – I just put it in the back of the net.
“It’s a shame it worked out the way it did because it was an even game. I thought we both deserved to go through. We had a spell where I felt we could have won it, but they also had their spells too. And once it gets to penalties you know it’s up in the air.”
Well they finally got knocked out 6-5 in the end but Zelalem and his team can go out with their heads held high. He is showing remarkle calmness and confidence for his age, so perhaps if he impresses Wenger enough he could really be in the Gunners first team next season….