Whatever happened to Gedion Zelalem?

Gedion Zelalem was signed by Arsenal in 2013 from Walter John High School in the States but made only four appearances for the senior team, so where is he now?

Gedion Zelalem’s time at Arsenal was largely disrupted by injuries that the club often neglected to mention. Although he was always a slight player, big things were expected of him, however, a serious knee injury (ruptured his cruciate towards the end of the 16/17 season when he was at the FIFA u20 World Cup with the States) that kept him sidelined for 18 months really impacted his career and the new management structure at the club when Arsene Wenger & co left were clear there was no place for him at the club.

Zelalem was spoken about in the same breath as a young Cesc Fabregas. A loan with Rangers for a season, which saw him make 28 appearances for the Scottish side (helping them win promotion) was followed by a loan with VVV Venlo that produced just eight when injury struck again.

Zelalem returned to the club but, with his deal expiring in the summer of 2019, Arsenal allowed him to move to Kansa City for free in March of that year.

Where is Gedion Zelalem now?

Gedion Zelalem signed for New York City FC less than a year after joining Sporting Kansas City who declined to take up his option. He made only nine appearances for the Kansas City senior team and seven for their seconds.

At the time of his signing, the recently-appointed NYCFC Head Coach, Ronny Deila, said: “Gedion is a very versatile midfielder who can play across multiple positions. He’s a creative player and possesses very good technique on the ball which is vital for a midfielder in our system.

“He’s eager to begin this preseason and we’re ready for him to get into camp and show off who he is as a player.”

NYCFC Sporting Director, David Lee, added: “We’re really excited that Gedion is joining us ahead of the 2020 season. Even though he’s still in the early portion of his career, he’s gained really valuable experience at multiple clubs across a few different leagues.

“He’s also represented the U.S. youth national team in two World Cups and we think we’ve identified a very talented player who can come in and develop with us and improve our squad.”

How is Gedion Zelalem doing?

Now 24, Zelalem is valued at around £135,000, half his highest valuation of £235,000 which he reached when he was 20 and with VVV Venlo.

Just a few weeks ago, NYCFC made the decision to offer the midfielder a new contract.

“We’re happy to welcome back Gedion for another season,” sporting director David Lee said in a club statement. “He was showing glimpses of the potential he has last year before his injury and we’re excited to see him back on the field in 2021.”

That injury – another knee problem – saw Zelalem make only one appearance for New York in his first season with them. That was a 14-minute cameo in the ‘MLS is Back Tournament’ against Philadelphia in July, 2020.

Zelalem’s contract with New York City runs until 31 December 2021.

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