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.