Monday, July 15, 2013

Gedion Zelalem is to be Arsenal's must-see attraction

A lack of star signings at Arsenal so far this summer makes the biggest curiosity on their pre-season tour a much-touted 16-year-old.
Arsenal have announced their travelling party for their summer tour of the Far East, and making the headlines are those who do not travel.
While Gervinho misses out with illness, the real news is the fact there are no big name signings for the Gunners to show off to their fans.
In a summer with no World Cup or European Championship, the tour is a big chance to show off the club's big stars, and the buzz would have been unreal if Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain was to get his first outing in an Arsenal shirt in Asia.

The lack of signings is not unique to Arsenal, Manchester United have also headed out on tour with no new additions, but it does throw up the interesting question of who will fill the void and become the must-see star on tour.
Step forward 16-year-old 'wonderkid' Gedion Zelalem.
Now we may stand accused of overhyping him here, but the fact is this is the boy every Arsenal fan wants to see in action.
Ever since he was brought into the club he has been hotly tipped as one to watch, no more so than when John Cross of the Mirror described him as 'The next Cesc Fabregas' in an article this April.
That was before he made his debut for Arsenal's under-21 side, at just 16 no less, and did not look out of place whatsoever, helping the Gunners to a draw at Anfield, having a helping hand in a superb goal for Serge Gnabry.
He went onto play the full 90 minutes too in a second match, showing the confidence Arsenal's coaching staff have in him already.
Now he has been named by the club as one of the traveling members on the club's pre-season tour, which will do little to dampen expectations.
There are a number of youngsters competing to shine on tour, with Thomas Eisfeld having a starring role last year and looking to do the same again, and Serge Gnabry and Chuba Akpom also hoping to make a big impression.
But it is Zelalem's young age and fast development which make him the most intriguing of all, and Arsene Wenger is unlikely to be reticent to throw him straight into the mix and see how he copes.
How he gets on can have a bearing on the speed of his further development, and can increase the hype tenfold.
Is he the long-term of Arsenal's midfield? We may just be about to get confirmation. Zelalem is certainly going to be the boy wonder to keep an eye on over the next fortnight.