Zelalem Confirms Arsenal Agreement

Jamie Sanderson August 22, 2011 News 95 Comments

Arsenal have agreed to sign Olney Soccer Club midfielder Gedion Zelalem, following a trial. The 14-year-old will join the Gunners on his 16th birthday, in January 2013.

Zelalem was put onto Arsenal’s North America scout Danny Karbassiyoon by Olney manager Matt Pilkington last season, and the club have followed up on the tip off by first watching the prospect at the Dallas Cup, then inviting him for a 10 day training stint at London Colney.

Gedion is a German-born Ethiopian, who was part of Hertha Berlin’s academy setup before moving to America five years ago. Arsenal denied an agreement has been reached during an interview with the Washington Post this week, but the player has since confirmed he will move to the Gunners on his 16th birthday.

Zelalem’s German citizenship means Arsenal will not require a work permit for the exciting play maker.


  • How long before the ‘We dnt ned kids! Wngr is a idot!’ comment?

    • says the guy that spells idiot like that.

    • Of course what braindeads like ETainer92 don’t realise is that every football club needs youngsters.

    • Well yeah, that was part of the joke. You see, it would be a moron posting that comment who would therefore be unable to spell. Don’t worry, you’ll understand one day.

    • Why are you reading “YOUNG GUNS BLOG”!! It is suppose to be only about youngsters..

  • Cue 100 people to moan about Wenger signing another kid

  • I’m happy just because his name is so much fun to say.

  • WOW, People are really not getting that that signing does not have anything to do with the first team budget. Its an academy signing and therefore doesn´t take any money from the first team budget. Hopefully he will become even better and have a successful career at Arsenal FC.

  • very coooooooooooooooooooooool

  • Wenger had a four pronged squad plan for this summer..

    1. Keep our best players
    2. Buy in top level players to improve the team
    3. Sign young players with big potential
    4. Promote from within

    Please go read this article http://www.thefootballnetwork.net/main/s378/st170548.htm

    • Its fake

    • 1. Sell best players
      2. Sign youngsters
      3. ?????????
      4. Profit

    • Well he’s failed in the first two.But then kids are always favoured by Wenger ahead of the experienced “super quality” players he says he is after, but which never seem to materialise. Strange, that.
      ” In Arsene we rust.”

  • As arsenal fan and Ethiopian, I am happy getting Zelalem as the first Arsenal Ethiopian player and representative for my country!!!
    Bravo Kid!!! Show them your blood!!!

  • 14 year olds? hmm… not good. too young for transfers imho. at least wait until he is 16.

    • erm… you should read the article again. he’ll sign when he’s 16. and we get english players when they are even younger so what’s the problem?

  • Exactly,

    This a purely different project. Arsenal needs to develop the foundation for the future.

    But again, we badly need the new players please.

  • We don’t need to blame Wenger for this case. He hasn’t described that one as the solution for current struggle. It’s an investment for future. We have to seal some wonder-kids for coming years although we deadly need to reinforce the team with experienced stars for now. Yes, recently , we need super quality to get out from the hell.

  • Wenger I like your style and you like young gunners better than senior gunners.Thank you mr.wenger continoun your job.sir kbo2 m.shinkafa,bauchi-nigeria.

  • It sadden me when Arsenal supporters claimed we don’t need youngster. WTF!
    Barcefuka did that and I don’t see their fans fuck up their club. Grow some sense.

    1. Keep our best players
    2. Buy in top level players to improve the team
    3. Sign young players with big potential
    4. Promote from within

    Okay we knew the whole Arsenal setup work hard to get the best youth potential and promoting them… Frimpong, Wilshere and many others clear for all to see.

    For years the debts on the stadium loan, makes us needed to rely more on point 3 & 4. Right now that was an undisclosed source that Wenger was in loggerheads with the Board for point 1 & 2.

    Read this article from http://www.thefootballnetwork.net/main/s378/st170548.htm here.

    Here is the extracted if you are lazy to link there for a read:

    Wenger and the Board at Loggerheads Exclusive
    By Eduardo
    August 21 2011
    According to an unnamed source Arsene Wenger is at loggerheads with the Board over how the transfer budget should be spent. I am not at liberty to name that source, but I believe the information I received explains the current impasse at Arsenal. Before I explain what the differences between them are, let me make it clear that there is a substantial transfer budget that has to not only cover transfer fees but wages of incoming players and contract improvements of those already here.

    The Board and Wenger are both in agreement that , to avoid the situation the club has encountered with Clichy and Nasri this summer, star men like Van Persie and Vermaelen and others with only two years left on their contract need to be offered new long term contracts with big pay rises.

    And this is where the first difference of opinion has arisen between manager and club, The Board believe that offering to rise a players wage from £60K – £70K a week to £90K or £100K is more than enough, but Wenger believes that this is not enough, when City, Utd and Chelsea are paying their best(£180K – £250K), and that if we want to keep our best players we have to go to the next level, he wants the pay scale risen to £150K for our best.

    This brings us neatly on to the next bone of contention between manager and club, the calibre of signing we can make. Both Wenger and the Board agree that to even maintain a top four spot, let alone win the title, several new signings are required.

    The Board are willing to pay big transfer fees, as is Wenger (he is not lying when he says he would pay £30M – £40M), it is also where the difference of opinion comes. The Board would willingly meet the transfer fee, but will not meet the sort of wage demands a £30M signings asks for.

    Wenger had a four pronged squad plan this summer,

    1. Keep our best players
    2. Buy in top level players to improve the team
    3. Sign young players with big potential
    4. Promote from within

    Wenger has done parts 3 and 4. He wanted to do part 1 and 2 by Nasri being offered a massive contract so he would stay, and he hoped to persuade Cesc to stay one more year, with not only a new contract but with the calibre of player he signed. Wenger wanted Mata and Benzema, he still wants Hazzard, wages more than anything else are ruling out Mata and Benzema.

    The Board had no problem meeting the Juan Mata transfer fee, but once Chelsea let it be known to his agents what they would offer, it blew Arsenal’s contract offer out of the water. We ran into the same situation with Jones and Utd.

    People ask why have Arsenal not signed Cahill, Dann or Samba etc, well its simple really, Wenger wants better players, the Board want him to sign the above level of player, as it sits with their wage scale, Arsene wants the next level up, a Subotic, a Hummells, but they come with not only high transfer fees but with massive wage demands.

    Wenger would rather not sign a player at all, than sign someone for a big fee who he considers no better than what we have, the board have asked him to reconsider this stance, and that is why Cahill and Dann have been scouted this late in the window, Arsene sees them as not as good as Koscielny, and thinks it is the wrong way to use his budget, he wants better quality for the first 11, the board just want him to make signings to appease the fans.

    Wenger had a major discussion with Kroenke and the Board on Members day. He was told in no uncertain terms that Nasri would have to be sold if he did not sign a contract, and between them they came to the decision to let Cesc go for less than his worth. But Wenger fought his corner, and made it clear the sort of player he wants and that our star men have to be given contract that will keep them, as you can not build if every year there is doubts who are staying and who are going. Arsene also reiterated his view that we need top quality players, not just one as good or possibly slightly better, and that these players come at a premium cost and that the club has to go up a level not only on fees but on wages.

    Arsene Wenger is a company man, and will not come out with any of this, while under contract, no matter how much flack he takes, and that is why his comments in the media, since the Members day meeting, have been more for the ears of Stan and Ivan than for the fans, he is warning them. He wont’ walk, and it will cost the club dear to sack him, and even more to shut him up if he is sacked, if they thought the deal David Dein struck with Bruce Rioch to keep him quiet was expensive, they will be blown away by what it will take to buy Arsene Wenger’s silence.

    Who wins this battle of wills may define not only what happens to Arsenal’s season, but for many seasons to come.

    • Well, if what you say is true, it does help to explain the lack of transfer activity this summer. I always wondered whether the board/owner had tied AW’s hands so to speak by placing limitations as to transfer budget and wage structure. I also wondered why AW was always so concerned about keeping within such tight financial constraints without ever blaming the Board, but if he is contracted not to make negative comments about the board it would again make sense. The danger is that AW is losing the support and trust of a lot of his fans by making statements which clearly make no sense such as:

      1. Statements made during the january transfer window that we did not need to strengthen our defence.

      2. Statements made recently that our squad is too big. Well I beg to differ. With 13 players either leaving or going out on loan, our squad is so thin that injuries as we have occured leave our squad so ridiculously thin that we have to field inexperienced players as we did vs Liverpool. We now have no DM for the match vs Man Utd.

      The lack of a decent size squad means that the core players will have to play week in week out and leaving them open to further injuries.

      It is obvious that the Arsenal board are running the club as a business, however I think they underestimate the importance of having World Class players in the squad to give the fans hope of winning and for the brand to grow – which it will only do if Arsenal wins tournaments.

      I love Arsenal and will always support them no matter what, but empty seats at the Arsenal vs Liverpool match are a reflection of the disappointment felt by fans at the moment.


  • I am Excited simply because he is an Ethiopian origin. We have never had a single professional player in top division in Europe. Therefore, it just adds more Arsenal fans in Ethiopia than the currently existing several million fans.

  • The name of this blog is called “young guns” for a reason…

  • I am no problem to sign another 14 or 16 kid. However, I can’t any point to have a press release on this at the moment but simply ask for fans to blame. That is silly

  • Never mind, I see it mentioned but no link to the Post article. Apologies anyways

  • Bored of signing kids whether it be a 14 yr old for free or alex ox-chamberlain for 15m. Sick of this nonsense.

    • Chris Moynihan

      Then why bother coming to a site that purely about that?
      Are you the village idiot?

    • So why are you reading a blog about arsenal youth players? if you are bored try pornhub.com it is designed for w@#+*€¥$

  • What is really good about this type of dealing is that it shows Arsene is committed to the club’s future. He is not simply trying to find the best players for today but he is looking ten years ahead so that whoever is then the manager will still have a wonderful pool of youngsters to choose from.

    As a separate note, Jamie. Your blog is the only blog, along with ACLF, that I always read. It is always well written and informative. Keep up the good work.

    • “He’s looking ten years ahead” ? So where are the graduates from ten years ago? The only two that are of much quality are Wilshere and maybe Frimpong. Not a very good return for ten years worth of investment is it ?
      “In Arsene we rust.”

  • Wat we need is a player 2 fill tha hole in our midfield and defence NOW not ten years .

  • @ Arsenal…. Yah, I think most fans think it is as simply as Fifa 11 to sign players. That is what was most frustrating about selling Fabregas on the cheap. Who are you going to buy that doesn’t make us look stupid for selling Fabregas so cheap? Then the wages that player asks for will probably be higher then Fabregas. I don’t think people under stand the impact on football that Manchester City is having.

    @ On this kid. I hope he can play for America someday. Wish him all the best.

    • It could be true that there is conflict over policy regarding the wage structure,although Arsene has always been prudent in his 15 years at Arsenal.Man City have upped the anti with their oil money but Chelsea had already inflated the market for some time so i cant believe Arsene has suddenly changed his principles.On numerous occasions he has banged on about running a tight ship and keeping to a strict wage structure.If he has suddenly changed his tune then i can only assume that there is enough income to drastically hike the wages of our top players.I hope this is the case so all the effort in relocating to the Emirates and the way Arsenal have been elivated as a brand and leading European club under his leadership havnt been in vain.There is no point saying that £30-40m can be spent on signing a top talent if there is no chance the board would sanction wages of £150k +.It certainly seems very bizarre how our transfer activity has been conducted this summer and i dont believe Wenger has lost his marbles.

    • Chelsea raised the transfer fees of players and even though they spent a lot, they did not constantly buy and did not buy as irresponsibly as Manchester City have. I mean Man City have 100 million pounds of players that are not even going to be used. They also did not offer everyone and their mom 200k a weak like Manchester City have. Manchester City is the team that has ruined any sort of wage structure teams had.

  • c’mon he is ethiopian boy he can make very nice i mean like fabrigas u will see him ethiopian people never goes down!

  • i’m not happy about our inactivity in the market for proven players, but given how so many of the proven players in the world are proving to be greedy money-grubbing little mercenary shites, thank f*** our club is continuing to focus on developing its own talent from within.

    if our youth system can keep contributing 1-2 players like wilshere and szczesny to the first team every year, soon we will hardly need to go on the market to meet our needs.

    the market is proving to be a grubby and disgusting place, where values and decency have long been forgotten.

    come on arsenal.

    • Thats a nice thought but the sad truth is that unless Arsenal alter the wage structure to compete, then the likes of Wilshere and co are naturally going to be tempted by the crazy wages on offer elsewhere.Dont tell me that if you were offered twice the money to do the same job elswhere you wouldnt jump at the chance no matter how much you loved your employer!

    • I think you’re wrong STOKE GUNNER…

      Double the money might change your life if you’re on 20k a year, but it won’t change your life if you’re on 50k a week, you know. Other considerations come into it. Wilshere and Frimpong and all them are true Gooners, and they’re all mates, so they will be harder to tempt away. As long as we keep to 66-75% of the market rate of wages, they’ll stay.

  • Great prospect… Keep going

  • i know that one day ogun mapa wenger

  • pls. Wenger buy quality players e.g Eden Hazard, M’villa, cahill, Ateta and Samba may that ill ecourage Nasri to sing new contrac in Arsenal

  • Don’t want to come off all negative but, unless he’s the next Messi, how much can you really tell about a kid when he’s 14?

  • is it too paranoid to think that the anti arsenal sentiments that have worsened and the many anti wenger blogs and “fans” spamming the blogs is the work of Usmanov a media magnate who will be well versed in Tuckeresque dark arts as he tries to discredit the current board and try to grasp power.

  • Feeno>

    Yes, it’s a bit paranoid. Usmanov, whilst hardly the nicest man in the world, actually isn’t all that bad. People see how he looks – like a typical Bond-villain – and assume he must be a really nasty piece of work, but there’s no basis for that. The clean-cut, nice-looking Abramovich is actually a much scarier guy. Maybe it’s because to make billions in post-Soviet Russia you had to make people scared of you, and whilst Usmanov is naturally scary, Abramovich had to do some really horrific things to make people fear him, but Usmanov is actually about the least objectionable of all the oligarchs whilst Abramovich is one of the worst.

    Certainly, I find it much more plausible that referees are being bribed now we have people like Abramovich owning clubs than I did a few years ago.

  • It’s a new signing!! Be positive!! Results are not with us now but things will turn around a lot quicker if we support the club!!

  • Until Arsenal get the right balance in the First Team, it might be a suggestion that Arsenal play down the signings of “Wonder Kids”, many of which might not even make it as Arsenal players.

    The fans are suffering see their team struggling to make an impact in the Premiership for ssveral seasons, due to the shortage of quality and experienced players to give us a fighting chance.

    • Have i missed something or what? is this the worst start for a hundred years or something? awin adraw and a defeat fuck me its hardly suffering. we are a point down on last season and if we lose.on sunday we are still only a point down. we are also actually 1 0 up in the champions league not 3 0 down. we have a squad of 23 internationals mote than man united and chelsea and liverpool. makes me sick to see these new fans moaning all the time. you should try supporting us through 18.years without a title. and seeing us almost relegated and having to watch players not fit enough to lace the boots of squillaci. honestly you have no idea crisis what effing crisis.

  • @ TheBearMan, for fuck’s sake mate, you’ve posted this I don’t know how many times…fuck off with your antics and supposed knowledge about how to handle the situation at Arsenal. I don’t know how to fix it and neither do you!!! Arsene DOES. I mean really, Arsene is trying his darndest!!! Fuck off and preach to other people. I for one am not listening!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • J. do u know anything about this andy polo guy we r apparently looking at???????????

  • J. do u know anything about this andy polo guy we r apparently looking at???????????

  • i play with this kid on my high school team. hes a monster. His vision and touch on the ball is unbelievable.

  • Geee, this site means future hope for club and thus suggestions are supposed to be welcome but the way some guys talking, with all cursing words and suggestion of “porn…” sites. Look to me like the illiterates. What’s a shame.

    • Its a shame some of the foul language isnt moderated in the way some opinions are moderated.

  • This is a great blog, and i thoroughly enjoy coming onto it and the other well known blog that is dedicated to the Arsenal Academy.
    There are plenty of blogs that’ll give Arsenal fans a vehicle to vent whatever frustrations they may or may not have, on 1st team matters.
    But this isn’t one of them!
    So if you’re fed up with Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy or any other 1st team matter. Please bugger off to a blog that deals with those concerns you have.
    And leave the fans interested in the clubs Academy/Youth players, in peace.
    Thank you…

  • Well , Its young guns blog for reason , These are the guys which gives us uptodate info on all our young and reserve squad , please try to understand a club like Arsenal is not made within few days and with quids , it need a basic foundation of young players and talent to keep it moving . We need talent , Age of a player dosent determine the potential of a player ! ie Wilsher , Gibbs , Ignasi , Frimpong

  • according to rumours online, all these transfers stalemate is not down to arsene wenger. its the board that want to keep salary down on senior players and blocking arsene’s transfer targets.
    apparently he wanted benzema and mata regardless of cesc and nasri leaving but the board are satisified with him signing kids and just one transfer to appease the fans.
    if arsene loses the battle means the likes of van persie will want to leave the club. thats why he’s threatening to cup-tie nasri so the move could collapse, the board will take the money but wont spend it. arsene definately wants him to stay but the board won’t offer him the payrise he wants.
    anyway, if this is then its about time arsene stop appeasing this greedy board that hate to spend. now they still think he can work miracle by buying cheap players and keep working on tight budget.

  • I appologize to TheBearMan for telling him to fuck off!!! I usually don’t do that but i’m soooooooooooooo tired of hearing bitching and whining from so called fans who think they know more than Wenger and his staff!!! I admit that I don’t know the first thing about how the club is truly run, therefore I don’t tell anyone else how the club should be run!!! I’ll say this much, I think Wenger is a lot closer to knowing how it should be run and me or anyone else for that matter, unless there is a person out there who has direct contact with Wenger, his staff, the players themselves or anyone else directly associated with the club. There are certain players who I would like to see signed myself, but if they are not, it isn’t because I don’t think Wenger, tried or cared. It’s because it just didn’t or couldn’t happen. IF the rumours are true about the board restricting Wenger’s spending, then I wouldn’t blame the lack of transfer activity on Wenger at all!!! I kind of hope it is true, so that it at least justifies what has been and what hasn’t been going on this summer. I hope the board sees the error of their ways and listens to Wenger so that he can make us a successful club again!!! I think he knows best what to do to carry us forward!!! We are so close even now, that we don’t need a whole lot of tinkering to make ourselves better than last year!!! We have a solid defense now with Vermaelen fit and the young guns like Jenkinson helping out!!! We can do it, I know we can!!! As for this youth signing, I can only imiagine how proud the people of Ethiopia are!!! I know he has declared to play for another country, but they can feel proud that someone of their blood is succeeding at the greatest club in the world!!! Come on Arsenal!!!!

    • Milo,

      The manager does not want to admit that his project has failed. His promising young players are leaving. Cesc and Nasri are examples. There is no way Wilshere and Vermalen will be here when they realized that there is no chance of winning a cup or the premier league. Pires summed it up some days before. Players are interested to leave Arsenal; not join it as it was the case some years before. We are slidding up and the revivial may take years.

  • I think it’s a case of wait and see what happens.Alot of people are slamming wenger lately but the man has been manager of this club for 15 years he knows the club better than anyone i think he knows what hes doing give the man a break some people forget all the great things he did for Arsenal i am big fan of this club and i suggest all the bandwagon to f**k off and support city with the other glory hunters.

  • At a time when the club will be fighting against relegation, it gives little sense to talk about a kid who may be playing in the first team after 4 or 5 years.

    Watching the game between Tottenham and Man U, I am afraid that we are set for a hammering. This arrogant and stubborn manager could not be convinced that we are lagging behind in many ways. Mata and Hazard did not want to sign for us because they believe that Arsenal has no chance of winning the premier league.

  • wondiye Awoke

    Wow! it’s amazing to here that some Ethiopian Kid is on his way to play for my guns and as i am an arsenal fan and Ethiopian it would inspire me to watch him playing for a big team like ARSENAL!

  • Wonde, the gooner from Ethiopia

    Finally the Aw youth policy comes to Ethiopia……… glad….. but we need immediate solution to the current crises of Emirates

  • u will see him his just like fabrigas or xavi he passes ball i mean assist and scores free kick but wenger still buying young boys now we need like hazard and parker… there are lot of players but wenger knows the best and that is hazard and on news paper i read that that has been accepted thats good news for guners.

  • And what will be the selling price and the arsenal board profit when he is sold to Manu, Barcellona or Citeh three years after his full debut for us?

  • I am realy happy for this news becasue it is one step for ward our foot ball. It is good news for Ethiopian Arsenal fan.Zelalem is higher inspiration for young Ethiopian footballer to see their tallent in the world.

  • Daniel Mekuria

    wow this sound great for all Ethiopians.this is on of the sign of Ethiopian is naturally gifted people to play football and long run ….I’m Man united fun but ism happy to see him to play for Arsenal and a bog league .

  • Even if i’m happy as Ethiopian citizen,it’snt a sollution buy kid for Gunners problem.Wenger will have keep out our best players & buying profetinals to success in this season & feture.

  • he is a proud for ETHIOPIA

  • if wenger doesn’t sign 3 experienced players , a forward , a CB and a CM then , i would love wenger to get a sack … bring ancelloti in …

  • Thanks God we will see an ethiopians players in the guners ,look my freind after a few years we will see many ethiopians in the word many places not only foot ball.

  • I have seen this kid a bunch and my son even played with him on the U14 National Team. Talented but lazy and with an attitude. He plays when HE wants to. I watched him wave a National Team Coach off and then get pissed he didn’t get to play more. Nice kid off the field and I hope he can get his head right and be successful.

  • Coming from the North Pole we Bears are never affected by the abuse of Arsenal fans. We have also learned never to stoop to that level. What we discussing here is our Club and I can see we are very much disadvantaged and expecting miracles to happen every time we go on the pitch instead of raising our expectation, our standards and our ambition.

    Not long ago, I recall almost all the top players around the globe would have given anything to play for Arsenal under Wenger. Now it is only youngsters seeking a fast track to the BiG TiMeS. What has changed? A lack of vision, no ambition from Management and inadequate motives. imagine contemplating the coming season with the only objective is to finishing a season in 4th position.

    It takes iron to sharpen iron and the likes of Wilshire, Walcott and others have no one at Arsenal to feed off, to look up to, or draw inspiration from. Arsenal has to address the imbalance in the squad quickly as it would not take much for this once great club to tip over. Now I know many will be offended by that last statement, but all I say is open your eyes.

  • @ shane ….. I don’t live in a fantasy world or play in FIFA 11. Tell me do you think it was smoke without fire for my earlier comments? Wenger knew the market was not balanced and the crazy monies spent on players and agents are out of context, but in order to keep the best players intact and also to get the best talents he knew and spoken to the board to not only sign a higher transfer fees but to also get them at a much higher salary wages. I know I know Manchester City blew the BPL out of proportion so Wenger just believed the club needs to move forward by pay scale risen to £150K for our best. So Le Boss story does hold water under the bridge. Throughout the “Fabregas” & “Nasri” saga he never lies that his desire to keep his top players and he indeed told the board to raise their salary demand to approariate level and get quality players better than the current crops. He wanted to move the dead woods and to some extent they are moved and the board are to blame as they constantly thought Wenger ca build a new team from scratch but the forgot the team needs time to gell and its getting harder this day to get quality players without huge transfer fees cum wages demand…Hope that facts get across…
    We must and can depend on the academy but realistically we still need to buy experienced as well as quality players no matter how successful the youth blend with the first team. In short, we need to move with time is the message Wenger sent to the board throughout this season.

  • time to see ETHIOPIAN talent!

  • Esayas Tesfaye

    wenger knows the best specialy this year, he sign my country(ethiopian) player,(zelalem) i belive he ll be best players nobody see before and i know he can make it.we all ethiopians are proud of u.bravo bravo

  • Esayas Tesfaye

    wenger knows the best specially this year, he sign my country(ethiopian) player,(zelalem) i belive he ll be best players nobody see before and i know he can make it.we all ethiopians are proud of u.bravo bravo

  • Thank’s God we all Ethiopian will see our country player and we know he will do it .

  • stop hating on zelalem i know him and he is good so support him and he loves soccer so stop saying he doesnt belong here

  • waw thankyou God i alwayes proud to be from that beutful country ETHIOPIA so i can not waite to see this boy when he play lol

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