Gedion Zelalem could be on his way to Borussia Dortmund. The 19-year-old American is on the German giants’ radar, according to ESPNFC.
Zelalem has been unable to break into the Arsenal first team this season and his contract with the Gunners expires in the summer. That makes him free to sign a pre-contract with any club he wants, essentially tying his future to a club six months early.
Borussia Dortmund are hoping that the possibility of more playing time entices Zelalem. After being touted as one of the Arsenal academy’s best players and dominating at the youth levels, Zelalem failed to get regular playing time with the first team so he went to Rangers on loan last season. He was in and out of the starting lineup, but played a fair amount and helped Rangers get promoted to the top flight. This season, back at Arsenal, the thought was he could become a dependable squad player, but he’s yet to get a Premier League appearance.
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Going to BVB would make sense for Zelalem for couple reasons. Germany would be a comfortable place for Zelalem, who lived in Berlin and got his start in the Hertha Berlin academy before moving to the United States, where he was later scouted by Arsenal. Dortmund also do a great job producing young talent and are willing to play youngsters (see fellow American teenager Christian Pulisic), although that comes with the obvious downside of BVB having so many good attackers that there is tough competition for playing times.
Zelalem was touted as a huge get by U.S. Soccer when they convinced him to play for them, instead of Germany. But he hasn’t made a huge impact at the youth international levels and has yet to break through professionally. He’s still only 19 years old and tremendously talented, but it is very important for the Americans that he find a club where his career can take off. With his contract set to expire, the opportunity to look around and make a change is there. It appears as if BVB will be an option, too.