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Arsenal Chief Urges Patience Over ‘New Cesc Fabregas’
Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has urged fans to be patient with Gedion Zelalem and give him the time he needs to develop and fulfill his potential.
Zelalem joined the club in early 2013 after scout Danny Karbassiyoon spotted him playing for Olney Rangers in the Dallas Cup in America.
He caught the eye on our pre-season tour of Asia that summer and was instantly hailed as the ‘new Cesc Fabregas’ by some corners of the media.
The 18-year-old made his senior debut against Coventry in the FA Cup earlier in the season and played 45 minutes against Dortmund in the Champions League but his progression into the first team hasn’t been as swift as some had expected.
After all, Fabrgeas was already a firm fixture in the first team squad by 18, whereas Zelalem is still mainly training with the Under-21′s and only occasionally being invited to work with the first team players.
Arsene Wenger speaks highly of the young midfielder and many fans are excited about his potential to go on and become a top player for the club.
However, chief executive Ivan Gazidis has now urged caution not to pile too much pressure on the teenager and says he’s got a long way to go until he’s the finished article.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated., Gazidis said:
“You have to temper this [expectation] because you are always looking for the next big star, and I’ve been guilty of this myself,”
“Gedion is an exciting young talent, he’s got German heritage, and speaks like an American kid.
“Right at this moment he’s not the finished product. He’s very much got a lot of development to do. He’s focused on doing that. There’s something exciting there, but lets not get things ahead of themselves.
“Gedion’s training with and against some of the best young players in the world. He steps up every now and again with the first team, the level he’s got to get to. He’s got an understanding there’s a lot of competition and a long way to go.”
It’s understandable that Ivan has played down the expectation as too much pressure on a young kids shoulders can kill his career before it’s even began.
Zelalem has the ability, it’s just now about letting his develop at his own pace and Arsene will know when the time is right to blood him into the first team.
He’s still only 18 and slightly built, so that will certainly not help him cope with the physical nature of the Premier League. Once he bulks up a bit and matures, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him in the first team.