35. Gedion Zelalem




A German U17 international central-midfielder with huge potential, Gedion was promoted to Arsenal’s first-team squad just weeks after signing his scholarship deal.

Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe

Spotted by Arsenal scout Danny Karbassiyoon whilst playing in America, Gedion made four appearances for Arsenal’s U21 team whilst he was still a schoolboy. He was hugely impressive during the first-team’s pre-season tour of Asia in summer 2013 as he demonstrated his penchant for playing killer passes, and he went on to make his competitive debut as a substitute in the FA Cup win over Coventry City.

Whilst training regularly with the first-team, Gedion predominantly featured for Arsenal at youth level last season, with the youngster amassing 24 appearances in total for the various development sides.

He was a regular for the U21s, although his performances at youth level last season were not always consistent. Gedion also featured prominently in the UEFA Youth League and the FA Youth Cup and is likely to be heavily involved with the youth teams again this season.

He will, however, be hopeful of featuring a little more regularly for the first-team in the not too distant future. Arsene Wenger has stated that we may have to wait a while before Gedion is able to play regularly in the Premier League, but his talent is obvious and, in time, he could prove to be a very good player indeed.

Name Gedion Zelalem

Nationality German (U17, U16, U15)

Born 26.1.97

First-team apps 1

U21 apps 16

U19 apps 5

U18 apps 7

Signed scholarship Summer 2013

Signed professional January 2014




      1. He has Ethiopian blood doesn’t mean that he is Ethiopian. Germany has done much on him than Ethiopia, to be fair

    1. Why proud with Ethiopia, He was born and learned everything there. If he was here he probably would not have had this much opportunity and you would not have heard of him at all.

  1. yeah none of you forget he lived in the U.S for a good chunk of his life I am friend of his and he played his football in the U.S before joining arsenal

  2. Actually he born in Germany he better to play for Germany national team”I’m so happy to see him playing for gunners

  3. He was born in Germany and has a team mates in Sergy Gnabry and Thomas Eisfild who are Germans beside Per Mertesacker and Podolski from Main team.

    This new breed of German generation in Arsenal team could put him in a felow country men circle of influence. As a result his chance for playing either to USA or Ethiopia becomes minimal.

    I personally hope that he would choose Ethiopia where he can easily make to the national team as compared to his chance to make to the German side.

    there is also a good chance of becoming a USA national team player.

    The bottom line is we all love him and wish him all a success in his career.

    1. First intelligent response. For opportunities to play internationally and appear in competitions he would be wisest to chose USA. Regular appearances at World Cup and he would have a great chance of breaking into the first team.
      No idea why he would choose Ethiopia. Such limited competitive chances.

      1. But why not just try to be a better player so that you ARE chosen for the German team. Saying theres more chance of getting into a weaker team just shows lack of confidence in your ability. Surely its better to reach for the stars than to choose an international team thats never gonna win anything. If hes as good as everyone is tipping him to be, he should get into the German team

    2. He is eligible to play internationally for Germany (birthplace), Ethiopia (heritage), or the United States residence); where he grew up.He may also become eligible for England if he does not play for a senior team before he establishes his 5 year residency in the UK. He has been playing for Germany at the youth level, but until he makes a senior appearance, his international future is up for grabs.

  4. Gedion increased my love and support for arsenal.not only for me for all ethiopian arsenal fans.

  5. where ever he grow, he has real Ethiopian blood so,for what national team he plays ?it undoubted so we will good luck our proud Gideon

    1. whoever say any person u” call a spade a spade ” ”follow the river you will get the sea ” we are love Gideon zelalem at arsenal

  6. Jeorg, have you seen enough of him to compare him to wilshere at this age?Is he in that class or is he more of the Fran Merida, Denilson class of midfielder

  7. I think it speaks volumes that at 16 he’s with the squad in Indonesia. He didn’t looked overwhelmed by the experience either – very tidy.

    1. He has been great on the Asia tour so far. This debate over which country he might play for internationally is pointless he is a few years from that yet.

      His focus at the minute should be breaking into the Arsenal team through pre-season and League Cup.

  8. he will never play for ethiopians fuckin racist pp. ethiopian coach doesnt like foreiners players like yussuf sala, zigla or Abdul and fuad ibrahim. i prefer him to play for germany or US

  9. Wait! He is human bing, and he can understand anything. I hope he choois his orignal country. Germeny and USA are his fake country. His home land is ETHIOPIA. I’m sure he’ll play for ETHIOPIA. Gedion Zelalem God bless you.

  10. i realy appriciat him. If he is what ever i dnt care but i know 1 think he is a blood of us. God blesse u my dear.

  11. we finally got an Ethiopian (by blood) player in arsenal. hope he may notice that lots of Ethiopians are on his back.

  12. We all Ethiopians are proud of him. I believe it is okay whichever county he chooses to play for. Whatever language he speaks, wherever he grew up and whatever he does, he can’t possibly change his genes! So the reality is that he is and will always be Ethiopian! May God bless him.

  13. As an Ethiopian, I would say, please leave the choice for himself, and apparently, he has chosen to play for Germany U16 for now. If you ask him if he knows anything about Ethiopia, he may know very little. Germany is his country, and now America. Speaking of Ethiopian soccer, we should focus on developing our own talent internally, than wishing someone who was born and raised in another country (and foreign national) to come and rescue out soccer. When we come out and comment about him playing for us just because his blood tie, this shows that we have nothing to show from our own country. Anyways, Ethiopian soccer is showing sign of improvements and I am sure in my generation, I will get to see more like “Getaneh Kebede” and “Saladin Said” in the world stage.

  14. Real talent, devotion, stamina and curosity are distnictive charactor of the hyped yangster. He will shine his unrevealed endowed talent in near future in the land of Britain.he is my intimate chatter.

  15. Great vision, defence splitting passes, sharp turning and great ball control…saw some of his moves in Asian tour, wonderful talent. About his physical part of the game, he will surely gain that in no time. He will surely be established 1st team *Conductor* very very very soon.

  16. ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia ethiopia

  17. i like Arsenal more than myself.however im looking foward to new signings-Luis Suarez.im happy that we have Gedion Zelalem in our squad,but we want striker to add on to Theo ,podolski and Djirou.

  18. @mat i like ur comment.i think zer r a lot of players in the street who r as good as gedion,we just need to find them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. He is of Ethiopian blood but was born in Germany. He is a great prospect and I am Ethiopian myself. Please stop with all this let him play for Germany, no Ethiopia. Just leave him alone his is still young. Im sure all the habesha people wouldn’t wont him to play for Ethiopia then get his legs broken against strong African players…..Look at the size of him!!! It would be better if we just let him do what he wanted because after all he is the one who is going to choose his destiny, not us. Lets just enjoy the amazing thing he plays football.

  20. Gedion Zelalam has done so much at the age of 16. I’m so proud to call myself an Ethiopian because of this guy and to be honest it’s my dream to play alongside him one day but as I’m getting older by the day my chances are getting VERY limited but that’s not the point… Germany have more than enough talent and he is not as appreciated there as much as he would be in Ethiopia. He can be a huge role model and people already start looking up to him and are even starting to believe they can make it and it would just completely destroy his image if he where to choose the US or Germany… If he plays for Ethiopia, he can do his thing and show the whole world his talent. Till now he hasn’t shown much because he hasn’t been given time but don’t forget he’s on 16. Anyway Gedion everyone loves you in Ethiopia even in Canada, just don’t destroy your image and show our country that you can make it to the premier league not matter what the condition is.

  21. very amusing and intersing person what i have seen in my life. please change your head and promise to play for ethiopia our honey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. Wish or dream is on thing but reality is another thing. As we heard and see, he seems a big talent. Wherever his name posted and mentioned his ancestor origin (Ethiopia) would be raised, that is a good thing he did for his father land. The second thing he is a hope for other young Ethiopian. Now they know that it is possible to break through if you work hard instead of just siting and complaining and blaming the other. Especially those: that they are born in western country, because the opportunity in any field of professionalism in the western country is better than in Ethiopia.
    I see a lot of Ethiopian´s playing good at their earliest age in Germany, but because of lack of discipline and continuities their talent ended at their fire age. Now a day football is not just a matter of talent, it should be accompanied by discipline and determination.
    For whom he is going to play? We should leave the choice to him. As of now he decided for German U17. For his future bright career (to expose himself for world market) and better understanding of team I prefer him to play with Germany. Since Ethiopia shows promising performance in the last international games (Africa cup and World cup qualification) he may help to keep the momentum of the team that they have now. This would happen after two or more year when he became more experienced with international known clubs. Now he is too young. But he may face mentality problem means communication and understanding with all member of the team. The other thing he will miss all internationally famous football tournament like world cup and European cup, that they would be an important achievement for his career life.
    Any way I wish him all the best in his career endeavor. Zelalem keep the track and put your name in the legacy of world football that should be your objective not just to play in premier league. All the people that they loves your way of playing and talent, your ancestor country (Ethiopia) and adaptive country Germany (Deutschland) are proud of you and keep watching you.

  23. Who care to him he may suffer by racism like balatolli.please gedy <>
    tell to your father what you have to do & you also think properiy.now <>.please juses help me! help me!…… if u do this i swear we ethiopans are sweet
    from other frican even world we have <<<<<<<<<>>>>>> good luck.

  24. All my Habesha people here, i need to tell you one thing: HE WILL NEVER PLAY FOR ETHIOPIA. Get over it. He will end up choosing the US or the Germans. I think it will be a CAREER CHOICE. We should not be sentimental about this. Yes, he is Ethiopian by heritage, but the best thing for him is to play either for the americans or the germans. As an Ethiopian myself, i do want him to play for us, but that is impossible. Personally, i prefer that he plays for the US, he will have more opportunities, and is also more loved and needed there than in Germany. With all the talent that the germans have in his position, it will be difficult for him to break into their national team. but the Americans are definitely short of talent, so he will get more opportunities to do what he loves best, and that is to play football. For now, HE IS JUST A KID. so let him grow physically, let him hone his wonderful skills. He is at the best club for this, and he has the best manager in the world in Arsene Wenger to develop him. So all we can do for him, as is our culture, is to wish him well and to pray for him. GOOD LUCK GEDION! Ye hagereh etyopia amlak kante gar yehun, amen.

  25. He should play for Germany and go to the top there. After all Germany has presumably provided him conducive environment for him to realize his talents, and we thank Germany for that. Other Ethiopian youngsters will get inspiration from his future successes. Win-win that way.

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