Report: Arsenal’s Gedion Zelalem & his brilliance at Ibrox

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When Rangers failed to snatch former Hibs’ playmaker Scott Allan, it was regarded as a major blow by many of an Ibrox persuasion, certain that the team needed him to solve the ‘regista’ problem plaguing the midfield.

Rangers, put simply, lacked a deep-lying playmaker – or the famous ‘Pirlo’ position; the kind of player who could dictate the pace of the game, slowing it down or speeding it up as and when needed, who could pick out the right pass, bring others into play and critically put his foot on the ball.

From absolutely nowhere, manager Mark Warburton pulled not just a rabbit out of a hat, but the magician’s assistant and half the stage props too when he persuaded Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to loan 18-year old USA youth international Gedion Zelalem to Ibrox until January, with a potential extension based on circumstances.

The Emirates’ youngster was recently rated one of the top 10 young players in the world. Yes, not just in the English Premier League, but the entire globe, a globe which includes similar stellar leagues such as La Liga and the Bundesliga, with the famous quote from his ex-youth coach Matt Pilkington describing that he “dribbles like Iniesta and passes like Xavi”.

It is high praise, and going by what we have seen since his loan spell at Ibrox began, it does not even look like an exaggeration. With several assists to his name already, and an uncanny knack of finding acres of space where none should exist, Zelalem has slep-walked through life in the Scottish Championship so far, where he is evidently one of the best players in the league – his competition for that accolade probably comes from his own team mates.

All those ‘hype’ YouTube videos which made the Arsenal kid look like Andrea Pirlo, Xavi and Iniesta rolled into one – they were not inaccurate.

Of course he still has some way to go – he is only 18 and learning the game, but if this is how impressive he is before his 19th birthday, wonders do not cease as to how good he will be in four years time.

Gunners; when your star midfielder Gedion Zelalem is dominating Champions League opponents in four years and carrying a multimillion price tag on his head, remember your good friends Rangers and what we have done for you and him.

Thank you now for giving us him, but you will be thanking us back in a few years.

12 COMMENTS

  1. As a Gooner I was delighted when Zelalem went to Rangers and not some lower league English side. I knew he would not only play regularly there but bloom. He's appeared a few times for the first team at Arsenal but mostly in friendlies, but even then he looked a superstar in the making. I hope he stays at Rangers next season too. Rangers are winners and that mentality will serve him well in the future.

  2. Apologies, another Arsenal fan here – I've been following Zelalem's progress since he made his switch to Scotland & have been really pleased how well this loan has been working out for both clubs so far. I did notice he was withdrawn early this weekend after receiving a couple of challenges/tackles but it's all good experience & he'll learn to cope with that type of attention. I'd like to see him add a bit more zip/urgency to his passing but I think his languid style belies how good his distribution already is so he's not too far off. I only see him improving by being so involved with Rangers so I hope Arsenal extend his loan to the full year &, over the longer term, I actually hope he stays at Ibrox for a further year so he can test himself at the higher level of football & increased responsibility before returning to Arsenal. Good luck for the rest of season!

  3. Great comments from all above ,good kid fool of promise thanks again ,I also hope you can go on and win the English title .

  4. All the best to the mighty Gunners in the season ahead. Hopefully someday soon the old friendlies between Rangers and Arsenal will recommence like they have throughout our histories. Dating back to the early 1930's and the friendship between the legendary managers Herbert Chapman an Bill Struth, these 'friendlies were always great games. Rangers like the Gunners played for keeps in those games. They were the forerunners of the European competitions as well through the interest that they used to draw. Rangers fans always looked forward to the Gunners games.
    Arsenal were invited to provide the opposition for Rangers Centenary celebration. In true Gunners fashion they 'thanked' Rangers byscoring the winner in the dying minutes and beating us 2-1 on a great night filled with nostalgia.
    Like I say, it would be great to bring the old days back by renewing the pre-season fixture. Not just yet though. We're still taking 'baby-steps' in our recovery at the moment. When we have regained our strength on the playing side it would be great to see.
    Once again all the best.

  5. Rangers v Arsenal friendlies: the full list

    1933/34 Rangers 2, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)

    1933/34 Arsenal 1, Rangers 3 (Highbury)

    1934/35 Arsenal 1, Rangers 1 (Highbury)

    1935/36 Rangers 2, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)

    1936/37 Arsenal 2, Rangers 1 (Highbury)

    1938/38 Rangers 1, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)

    1951/52 Arsenal 3, Rangers 2 (Highbury)

    1953/54 Rangers 1, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)

    1954/55 Arsenal 3, Rangers 3 (Highbury)

    1955/56 Rangers 2, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)

    1958/59 Arsenal 0, Rangers 3 (Highbury)

    1960/61 Rangers 4, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)

    1962/63 Arsenal 2, Rangers 2 (Highbury)

    1966/67 Rangers 2, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)

    1967/68 Arsenal 3, Rangers 0 (Highbury)

    1968/69 Rangers 2, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)

    1973/74 Rangers 1, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)

    1980/81 Rangers 2, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)

    1989/90 Rangers 1, Arsenal 2 (Ibrox)

    1996/97 Rangers 3, Arsenal 0 (Ibrox)

    1996/97 Arsenal 3, Rangers 3 (Highbury)

    2003/04 Rangers 0, Arsenal 3 (Ibrox)

    2009/10 Arsenal 3, Rangers 0 (Emirates)

  6. Anon 16:24,I also think he tends to slow things up at times.Make no mistake,I think the boy will play at the very top in 6 years,but he must learn to use his left foot more.He pivots using the outside of his right foot taking 4 touches to face goalward when he could do the same with one touch with his left.Ian and Barry Ferguson both did the same thing in a Rangers jersey and it frustrated the f**k out of me.Forgive my slight negativity its only because he can be great,but it will all come together for him.

  7. The loan signings this season have worked out well for us but zelalem goes back in January and oduwa is here for full season, hopefully Arsenal can stretch the loan out more, he is very interesting but think oduwa looks the biz more and I reckon we will have him next season, he's loving it at Rangers and he wouldn't be ready for spurs, they have to justify big signings and if he went back to spurs???????? Bench sitting or loving the rangers

  8. Ashley or whyte ? Who sold the Arsenal shares? Sure it was whyte ,they made 200k but broke tradition, sold the club /themselves to the devil WATP

  9. Nice comments tam burns, you are true in you're words, he looks too relaxed at times, somewhat bored but he hasn't proved anything yet, oduwa is great but shows cockyness but he is gonna bust his arse for us hope spurs let us have him next Season it would be a win win for us WATP

  10. Zelalem looks class too and glad oduwa is keeping him company, young lads away from home, glad they have build up a good rapport, rangers will always back our players and Warburton we trust WATP

  11. Zelalem looks good infact he looks class almost bored at times playing in this league and I would be too if I was him but he's a kid still would loving playing in front of a 50,000 crowd and sure he's in love with the blue/ibrox family

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