Thursday, December 7, 2023

Zelalem to become US citizen

According to the Washington Post, Arsenal’s Gedion Zelalem is set to become a naturalized US citizen before he turns 18 on 26 January, paving the way for a change in international allegiance.

Born in Berlin to Ethiopian parents, Zelalem moved to the States in 2006 but has so far chosen to represent Germany at youth level having begun his football education in the country. He is expected to accept any future call-up to the US set-up should it be forthcoming.

The teenage midfielder will need to wait for FIFA approval after finalising his US citizenship and will remain eligible for both Germany and Ethiopia until he plays a competitive fixture for Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT.

Zelalem joined the Arsenal Academy in January 2013 and rose through the ranks rapidly to secure first team status last year off the back of a series of eye-catching appearances on the pre-season tour of the Far East. He has since appeared as a substitute in both the FA Cup and Champions League.

Arseblog News can’t recall for certain, but we’re pretty sure Zelalem is set to be only the third ever American to play for the Gunners, following in the footsteps of Danny Karbassiyoon and Frank Simek. (If we’re wrong, let us know…)

Alexi Lalas had a trial during the George Graham era, but according to Paul Merson (recounted in his autobiography) the famed ginger centre-back didn’t get the gig because he kept kicking Arsenal players up in the air during training.

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Wenger's Waterbottle

In unrelated news, Arsene has decided to sell him on January 26th.

A Yank In King Arsene's West Stand

I was hoping he’d do that – Great news for the USMNT!


I still think he will remain with Germany rather than play for USA.

(I’m not participating in this ‘USMNT’ bollocks, it’s USA, Germany, England, Brazil etc).


fully agree mate,
Fuck off USMNT.


Well our women’s team is far better than the men so I’ve always looked at it as sort of a snub.


United States Mutant Ninja Turtles?


“because [Lalas] kept kicking Arsenal players up in the air during training.”

Thereby proving that Arsenal “don’t like it up ’em” well before the narrative would have you believe!

(That Zelalem will become a naturalized citizen in 2015 must mean his parents applied sometime back in the 1970s.)

Me So Hornsey

I’m truly shocked that Merson wrote that about Lalas.

Truly miraculous that someone who was either drunk or high on cocaine would have such lucid memories of a single training session.


Even though he often speaks rubbish nowadays, he was our most skilful attacker back then. Besides Limpar, nobody could really dribble the ball effectively.

Andy Mack

He played on natural talent and was very good usually but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t high as a kite.

Merson's grin

One run from Merson during a 0 – 0 draw at a miserable, racist strewn Boundary Park in the pre-Wenger ’90’s made it all worthwhile. A flawed genius perhaps, but still a legend to me.

Merson's grin

However, he has turned into that drunken uncle that no-one wants to listen to anymore.

Chris O.

Lalas is a complete tool who continues to pollute American airwaves with his narcissism. Don’t waste time defending him.

Bouldy's Tupee

Lalas is an idiot.

Zelalem playing for USMNT is exactly what they need! Creativity in the middle has been lacking for years!


Lalas is an absolute tool and, as an American gunner, I am very happy he never played for arsenal.

Mark Hughes

Doug Farquhar, a midfielder born in 1921, was technically the first American to play for Arsenal.

This website – – lists the nationality of every Arsenal player ever (as far as im aware).


Seriously? Mark Hughes?


Somebody has to be Mark Hughes. Just be glad it isn’t you.


I read, becoming a Citizen. In the sense of, going north to ManCity.

Pfew. Don’t mess with my heart.


Will this create any work permit difficulties?

Right on

dont think so, he must have dual citizenship both German and US I guess so he can use the German one to stay in UK 🙂 my wild guess 😀

Koscielny's Accordion Factory

I assume he’s keeping his German nationality/passport so will have the right to live work and move around the EU freely


Does the US permit dual citizenship?

New guy



I’ve got dual citizenship but I *think* they’ve changed the law to prevent future instances of that… apart from those grandfathered in. Like guys like me. Hey, I’m a guy like me!

rambo sambo

I just became a citizen last year, and kept all my other citizenships (I have 3 others). Dual citizenship is still allowed.


Apparently the US requires that you renounce your other citizenships when you naturalize. Most countries simply refuse your renunciation, and you remain citizen of all. Some countries, especially in Asia, will accept your renunciation and you lose citizenship.


It’s my understanding that the U. S. doesn’t recognize dual citizenship–though since my understanding dates back to the ’70s the rule may have changed.


The top echelons of the US government and the Supreme Court is packed with dual citizenship Israeli citizens. Some who have served in the Israeli military and are possible Mossad agents.


Damn think of the flying time. he wants playing time which wouldbbe hard to come by in Germany’s youth and seniorbsetup. i see issues down the line r.e. club vs country commitments.

Andy Mack

At least he’s not playing for Ethiopia with the chance of being dragged off every 2 years for their money making tournament.

Arsene's zip

Why on earth would be choose to play for USA rather than Germany?

And why do they have to be usmnt? Why not just say the US team like everyone else does? We don’t have EMNT for the English team.

Koscielny's Accordion Factory

To distinguish between the Womens and Mens Team. Gotta remember Women’s “soccer” is a much bigger deal in the US than a lot of other countries so let them have it I say

Thierry Walcott

Ja, because even men can feature in the women’s team. We should definitely be able to distinguish between the two.

Nate F

Guaranteed early playing time for US when he could potentially never see the field for Germany. And it’s because the women’s team has a huge following. Media started it to make it easier to differentiate between the two and it’s stuck

Walter Raleigh

How about letting us call our team whatever we want? What’s it to you? We don’t ask why you call your team the Three Lions even though it’s anything but resembling lions.

Dick Swiveller

They look a fair bit like lions though, the paws and the manes are pretty obvious.

You’re right though, it sounds ridiculous but you can call your team whatever you like.

Can we call ourselves the Arsenal Mutant Ninja Oxlade-Chamberlains? I quite like that.


We don’t call our team the three lions. The media do.
And they’re as up in their own arse as your media. Almost.

Giroud Awakening

No you just call yourselves the ‘FA’, as if it’s the only football association that matters

The FA

”Twas the first!

Giroud Awakening

It’s just a load of shite if you ask me, same with the golf “Royal and Ancient Golf Society”. HA utter load of bollocks, get off you’re high horse England


Our horses are higher simply because we have superior grass.


You haven’t smoked any American grass?


World Series?

I rest my case.

Arsene's musings

that’s usually what happens when you invent the game


FYI,Chinese invited football and the English made up the rules.


Stoke play original Chinese football.

Anyway, everyone knows old whisky nose made up the rules.

Giroud Awakening

Come on Ireland


Come on Henry!

Gooner Smurf

Sorry, the English never invented the game. Nice try though.

Dick Swiveller

Where is all this information coming from?

Is this due to there being other games played with round objects existing before the FA? If so, we had plenty of those before we set down the rules for Association Football too.


The same chance Frimpong has in playing for England than Ghana.


USMNT because they also have USWNT. Saying US Team will not distinguish between Mens’ and Women’s’ teams.


He is male so therefore everyone knows he will play for the men’s team. Dumb yanks!

When Sterling was making his final decision to choose England over his birth country of Jamaica, people weren’t asking will he be playing for mens or women’s team?

When I read these comments it explains a lot that you had a genius like George W Bush running your country.

American Gooner

I really don’t feel there is a need to go into politics while discussing a player’s desire to declare allegiance to a certain national team, but maybe that’s just me (a dumb yank). And say what you want about us, but at least we made it out of the group stage at the WC buddy! It’s a shame even Raheem Sterling couldn’t drag the mighty Three Lions to the KO stage

A Yank In King Arsene's West Stand

Oh, please spare us. I’ve been living in England for almost a decade and the percentage of absolute idiots is exactly the same as it in in the US.

Like the current UK government is anything to brag about, ffs.


Dear Spinner,

You sir, are an idiot.


I didn’t realise acronyms upset people so much….

A Yank In King Arsene's West Stand

Well, I don’t know the guy, but it seems like the most likely reason is big fish in a little pond vs little fish in a big pond. He’ll start for the US and will hopefully grow to be one of the most important players on the team.

Why do the English say “chocolate brownies” instead of just “brownies”? We can trade useless questions about pointless semantic differences all day long. No skin off anyone’s nose what each team calls itself.

Mark Hughes

Probably because they have groups like the scouts called ‘Brownies’.

Chris O.

The reason is Zelalem is “American” in every sense but the passport.

He’s also in the unique position to bring a skill set and quality to the team that it’s never had before. He could star in 4 world cup cycles as a #10 for a good, emerging team. Hard to refuse that, no?


Agreed. He would learn more from german national team than USA if he’d ever make that level.


The financial prospects for being a world star with an American passport a massive. Far more than being a cog in the German machine. It’s a little cynical, but just my take on things.


^^^This guy knows what he’s talking about. There’s huge $$$ in playing for the USMNT. Even if he doesn’t succeed in Europe (God willing he will), he can come back to the states and play in MLS for the same, if not more, coin.

Rectum Spectrum

Almost certain they can call themselves whatever they want.

Tom Gun

Would it be cynical to suggest that maybe he is being convinced by Arsenal to choose US/USMNT (whichever, I couldn’t give less of a shit) as they know if he becomes the global kid superstar that our yankee friends crave (remember Freddy Edu?!) then we would crack the US market and become the most supported team there and, as pre-season friendlies show, the U.S. market is the one everyone wants. It would corner their market like Beckham did in Asia for Manure. Thoughts?


I really hope it works out that way. And I really hope Arsenal comes to North America more often, especially to the west coast.


Germany first if he can make the grade.

Following that USA is not a bad fall back. Its an exciting time in US football and Klinnsman could be influential.


I don’t know about all that, but Stan Kronke certainly has the relationships in the US to ensure that GZ gets some massive sponsorship deals. Nike is all over the USMNT and they also do the St. Louis Rams (Stan owns them as well). Everyone creamed their pants when Julian Green signed up; I’m doing the same now. Well, not right now as I type…oh god…


With regard the whole ‘soft Centre’ theory related to the “We need a physically large DM” theory : We have not been porous through the middle. Arteta and Flamini have been sufficiently astute managing us. Most of our goals conceded have instead been from wide areas or set pieces through crosses we have failed to cover. Plenty of this is due to unfamiliarity of personnel in the back line and players being played out of position to cover the short fall there The media are absolute plonkers. We played Soton earlier and got the better of Wanyama. We got the… Read more »


come in Winston Reid … the first Kiwi to grace the Gunners … 6ft 4in … scores goals, can pass or hoof, takes no shit, aged 26, two years in the EPL … good cover at the very least ….

We don’t yet want an unproven van Dijk ….

Sissoko also thanks Arsene … happy new year Gooners

Dick Swiveller

Reid, yes.

Another box to box midfielder? No thanks.


Jesus, why do you insist on harping on about the defensive midfielder issue on every single blog? Yes, we get it, you think Arteta and Flamini are fine. Many of us don’t. But spare us the repetition. And it’s also noticeable that you go missing after any game where our midfield is overrun.

Dick Swiveller

Some people thrive in the catharsis of being able to shout names out loud on the internet, some people know that all you’re going to get after a defeat is a load of crap, so you’re better off jut having another beer and watching a film or something.


With regard the US market, I personally feel the club is being short sighted and too conservative in its marketing. The US market is untapped and a market waiting for expansion. Arsenal FC has instead continued its focus on Asia over recent summer. There is plenty of money to be made in the Americas. IMO what would really help the team/marketing is to take advantage of the excellent facilities/ financing and latent talent potential in the US. Start up a number of Arsenal academies in the US (maybe have a team to compete in MLS). Use them both to generate… Read more »


“Talent potential in the US”


Dick Swiveller

Lot of downvotes, but for all the good work being done to promote football over there, if you’re a gifted athlete (not just the physical stuff, the drive and nous that you need) you’ll probably end up playing NFL. This does limit the talent pool, despite there being a lot of people, and a lot of people playing football apparently.


Also MLB. The NFL does tend to limit the talent pool because of the gargantuan sizes required.

Andy Mack

I thought Stan already had some Arsenal ‘soccer’ academies there.
Headquartered from Colorado….


Does Germany allow dual citizenship? If not he’ll lose his EU passport.

Alternatively how long has he been in UK? Can we nationalise him as a British citizen (for the daily mail to praise him as the English Ineseta and then slate him for getting kicked)


Yeah, we should avoid digging too deep into the intricacies of football over here in the wild west. Our USMNT kicks a ‘soccer ball’ with ‘cleats’ on a ‘soccer field’. We wear ‘jerseys’ instead of kits and our media fears we will suffer from boredom if a ‘soccer game’ ends in a ‘zero-zero tie’. Our MLS season runs from March to December to avoid losing fans to more palatable sports such as basketball and our own version of football (which involves little use of the foot and something that can barely be identified as a ball). We don’t really know… Read more »

Feeder Club No More

Gedion “Benedict Arnold” Zelalem I’m guessing he made this decision based on the fact that the United States is a wonderful place where people who share his skin color are gunned down by police with shocking regularity!


Land of the Free (to be killed by police)

DE Gooner

I don’t think either of you These ‘wannabe’ and sometimes ‘real’ ‘gangstas’ break the law, threaten a police officer, or pose a threat to others, and then don’t obey verbal commands to stop, things will get physical or deadly. It has nothing to do with the color of their skin. Only their broken homes, growing up with a lack of respect for authority, and being just plain arrogant that rules don’t apply. Hell, if the cops didn’t shoot some of these idiots, another one of their own skin color probably would have, if you want to believe statistics. If you… Read more »


Bullshit! I am American, born and raised, and you are bullshitting. Eric Santner, who was doing absolutely NOTHING wrong (except for waiting for his daughter to get out of school), and dies in a police chokehold, that was justified?! Fuck off with that shit.


DE… Come on dude… That’s the simplistic/divisive Fox News way of looking at a complex issue. We have a horrendous history of enslavement, segregation and treating non whites as sub human for generations and wonder why they don’t conform to some warped ideal of what a good colored person should behave like. Killings have always happened, we just hear about it more today as everyone has a camera on a cell phone – video evidence opposed to the cops word vs yours. Despite cameras being more accessible, the regularity of occurrences has recently increased dramatically due to the militarization of… Read more »

rambo sambo

Guys, we come here to arseblog to enjoy ourselves thinking about football for a few minutes a day. We are actively trying to avoid all this other negative political nonsense that gets thrown in our faces the rest of the time. If you want to talk politics, go to some other website to do it. This is not the place. When we’re here, we want to focus on positive things…like Arsenal’s amazing defensive depth…erm…I mean our amazing lack of injuries….no wait….our stellar league standing….. Ok fine, so it might not always be positive. But we love talking about the Arsenal… Read more »




A completely innocent Zelalem has more chance of being murdered in the street by armed agents of the (US) State or sentenced to death or being subject to a very long jail term in the US than any other country.
The US is a dangerous place and the real “terrorists” live there.
This being said, the US is the biggest and most exciting growth point for football, completely populayed by young people and I want them to do well at Wold Cups.
Up The Arsenal!


I genuinely thought USMNT stood for ‘UNITED STATES MUTANT NINJA TURTLES’.

Live and learn.


Is the Ox getting US citizenship too?


Any US gooners know what this means in terms of his availability for club? The US aren’t involved in any mid season internationals like africa, no? because that was a real gigantic pain in the ass that was – the ole ACN.

anyway – great news for the US team – they’ve come on amazingly well and this would be a real coup for them, a potentially world class creative mid.

Silent X

Just as a reminder, for all the smug vitriol England like to throw at the word, you all created the word ‘soccer’ as a pet name for asSOCiation football. Much like your ridiculous Gazza, Wazza and other such consonant-vowel-double consonant nicknames.

….but that’s none of my business. *sips tea*
USMNT All Day.

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