Gedion Zelalem joins Rangers on loan from Arsenal until January
U.S. men's national team prospect Gedion Zelalem will spend the rest of the year on loan with Rangers in Scotland, both clubs announced on Monday.
The 18-year-old Zelalem had been playing with Arsenal's youth teams this summer, scoring a great winner recently in a U-21 victory over Fulham, and the move offers him a chance to earn first-team playing time. Zelalem, born in Germany to Ethiopian parents, was cleared to play for the USA in time for this summer's FIFA Under-20 World Cup, but he is not yet fully cap-tied to the U.S. men's national team.
“It’s nice to have him on board and a lot of work has been done," Rangers manager Mark Warburton said in a team statement. "I'm thankful to some really good people at Arsenal and the work done by people here at Rangers. There is no doubt he is a very talented young player and I'm sure he'll have an impact for us."
Rangers is currently leads Scotland's second tier as it continues its ascent back to the top flight following its financial crisis in 2012. According to multiple reports, the loan could be extended to cover the entire season when its initial term expires in January.
Zelalem joins a line of Americans to don the Rangers uniform, following in the footsteps of the likes of DaMarcus Beasley, Carlos Bocanegra, Alejandro Bedoya and Maurice Edu.
“This is a great opportunity for me at a massive club," Zelalem told Rangers' official website. "I was at the Hibernian game and the fans were incredible, so I’m looking forward to playing here.
“Playing in front of 50,000 fans will replicate what it will be like at Arsenal ... Everyone knows the name ‘Glasgow Rangers’ so right away I was interested.”