Photo by: soccer.nbcsports.com
Last season was a rather disappointing one for Arsenal and United Statesprospect Gedion Zelalem. He spent the year on-loan with Rangers FC in the Scottish second-division. While the club won promotion to the SPL, Zelalem lost his spot in the starting lineup after just a few ineffective months to begin the season. It was certainly a season of experience building, however it wasn't the productive one everyone had hoped it would be.
Now the 19-year-old returns to North London with his future very much in doubt. Arsene Wenger plans to give the youngster a long look this preseason to evaluate where he stands within the first-team. That process begins with the club's trip to the United States to face the MLS All-Stars on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Two days after, they will play Chivas in Carson, CA.
According to Goal.com, Zelalem will be given "extensive" game time to prove his worth to the legendary manager. This tour will likely decide what the club will do with the U.S. youth international this season. A good showing could win him a squad spot with the first-team. But, if he fails to impress, he could find himself loaned out again or even outright sold. It's a big next few weeks in the career of the highly-touted midfielder.
Arsenal preliminary preseason roster:
Goalkeepers: Petr Cech (Czech Republic), Emiliano Martinez (Argentina), David Ospina (Colombia)
Defenders: Hector Bellerin (Spain), Krystian Bielik (Poland), Kieran Gibbs (England), Rob Holding (England), Calum Chambers (England), Mathieu Debuchy (France), Gabriel (Brazil), Per Mertesacker (Germany), Nacho Monreal (Spain)
Midfielders: Chris Willock (England), Jack Wilshere (England), Granit Xhaka (Switzerland), Gedion Zelalem (USA), Santi Cazorla (Spain), Francis Coquelin(France), Mohamed Elneny (Egypt), Alex Oxlade-chamberlain (England), Jeff Reine-adelaide (France)
Forwards: Theo Walcott (England), Chuba Akpom (England), Alex Iwobi (Nigeria),Joel Campbell (Costa Rica)