Arsenal and U.S. men’s national team prospect Gedion Zelalem is on loan and playing a good role in the promotion push of Scottish second-tier side Rangers FC.
Manager Mark Warburton sees his side in first place with a 12-1-1 record, and only the No. 1 seed gets automatic promotion to the top-flight.
Warburton wants Zelalem to get him to that next level, and has made no secret of his desire to see the loan extended from January to the end of season. And it seems the Gunners are cool with the idea.
Now is Zelalem?
“So far, we are in good shape. The feedback from Arsenal has been very positive. The current deal is until January, but, as long as everyone is happy, we will extend that.”
The Scottish second division is no great shakes, with their first division only getting one UEFA Champions League slot on a 23rd-best UEFA coefficient.
With all due respect to the great history of the Scottish league, Zelalem isn’t even playing against MLS-level competition week-in and week-out. But he also turns 19 in January and is playing in an incredibly physical league, one that will serve his development well-enough.
Question is: has it served its purpose already? Does he need to experience it longer? We don’t think so. Even on the Scotland U-21 side, many of the players play in better leagues than the Scottish Championship. And it’s worth arguing that most of the players on the U.S. U-23 team are getting better competition.
Yes, it’s just four more months, but it’s also a pivotal time in terms of preparation for the Olympic playoff match between the U.S. and Colombia. Judging by the pair of losses to Brazil, the Yanks need every advantage possible.
Go back to the Emirates, Gedion. And better yet, ask them to send you somewhere better.