Gedion Zelalem- From Olney Rangers to Rangers

It was whilst he was playing for a club with Rangers in their name that Gedion Zelalem first came to Arsenal’s attention and now, having joined Scottish side Rangers on loan initially until January, he will be looking to make the club’s coaching staff take notice of his performances once more.

It has been quite a journey for Zelalem, who has developed well since joining Arsenal from Olney Rangers in 2012. There have been numerous ups and downs in the ensuing period, with the major highlights undoubtedly being his two senior appearances for the Arsenal first-team so far.

Now, having amassed considerable experience of U21 football, he will be seeking to prove that he is able to compete on a bigger stage. The Scottish Championship might not be the most high-profile league, but Rangers, with their renowned supporters, remain one of the most recognisable clubs in Europe.

Rangers manager Mark Warburton has a good track record of working with young players from his time at Brentford, and his preferred style of play should suit Zelalem perfectly.

The United States youth international midifelder sampled the Ibrox atmosphere for the first time yesterday as he attended Rangers’ game with Hibernian and he also trained with his new team-mates this morning. If all goes well, Zelalem could play a part when Rangers take on Airdrieonians on Wednesday.

It was clear during the opening U21 game of the season against Fulham that Zelalem is one of Arsenal’s brightest talents at that level and, although he has some improvements to make physically, he should learn much from his stint with Rangers.

Having seen Dan Crowley and Ainsley Maitland-Niles get off to flying starts with their loan spells this season, Zelalem will be seeking to do likewise. He has come in for some criticism for failing to be heavily involved in matches, but the youngster, who is still only 18, is renowned for his penchant of unlocking defences with precise through-balls.

Of late Zelalem also seems to have started to pay greater attention to the defensive side of the game. He now closes players down much more readily than he did previously, whilst his tactical awareness has always been superior to most of his colleagues at youth level.

Zelalem reportedly turned down offers from several Championship clubs to join Rangers, and he will be seeking to prove that he made the right decision in linking up with Warburton’s team. His journey so far has been intriguing to watch as he has developed physically, whilst continuing to make good use of his undoubted technical gifts.

Now the hope is that he can impress sufficiently at Rangers to earn a chance of receiving even greater opportunities in the future.



  1. good move, better than going to the championship at this point i think

    i wish miyaichi had gone north of the border after holland, his development was stifled by playing in the EPL so young

  2. Been encouraged by his recent performances albeit highlights as usual. Everyone knew about his vision but always felt he needed to be more audacious both in terms of passes and especially dribbling.

    Not saying he should go for the ‘Hollywood’ throughball all the time but more often than he does at present while he obviously can dribble but never seemed to resort to it much before the u20 World Cup which I think did him a world of good. Aggressive side of his game is there but strangely enough worried least about that as it will come in time.

    On a side note jeorge other than iwobi and Adelaide who else do you think could get an opportunity in the cc cup?

  3. A86 the key factors as to who of the youths get a chance in the COC will be 1. who we get in the draw and where 2. our injury situation at the time of the game.

    If we get a league 1 team at the Emirates then chance of more youths being involved, get a BPL team away and little chance youth will be thrown in. Also if all senior players fit then its very likely that the starting 11, no matter who we get in the draw, will be all senior players, game time for those coming back from injury and full 90 minutes for the regular subs. In recent years Wenger has started the COC games with the 7 subs from the previous BPL game and the next 4 strongest players.

    1. Most of ozil, Sanchez, cazorla, coquelin and Ramsey would surely be rested though as The prem, cl and possibly fa cup would, rightfully so, be more of a priority. Imagine wilshere will be eased back in too.

      If that’s the case though the defence chooses itself (Debuchy chambers Gabriel Gibbs) and Walcott, welbeck (hopefully) and chamberlain will start I imagine some youth would start regardless? Especially in midfield

  4. Can’t see many getting a chance now we have Drawn spurs away.

    Debuchy chambers Gabriel gibbs
    Arteta flamini
    Campbell wilshire welbeck

    That would be my starting x1

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