By Danny Wright
Dutch second-tier leaders VVV Venlo are close to signing Arsenal teenager Gedion Zelalem on loan until the end of the season, according to a report.
Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf has claimed that the youngster is close to a temporary move away from north London with Arsene Wenger set to make a decision in the next 24 hours regarding the midfielder’s future.
Earlier this month the Berlin-born youngster was linked with a move to Borussia Dortmund, but today’s reports suggest his career will take a different path.
Zelalem spent most of last season on loan at Rangers in the Scottish Championship where he made 28 appearances in all competitions, and despite not getting any goals, he managed to pick up eight assists.
The 19-year-old managed to score in a penalty shoot-out win against Celtic in last year’s Scottish Cup semi-final victory.
He has made four first team appearances for the Gunners, each time coming off the bench in a cup game to help see out a win for his side.
Venlo are currently seven points clear at the top of the Dutch second tier and look to be set to return to the Eredivisie for the first time in four years.
The Dutch second-tier side are no strangers to bringing young talent into European recognition. Keisuke Honda, Ahmed Musa and Maya Yoshida were all bought to Europe by Venlo, so they are definitely capable of nursing young talent.
Football Insider Verdict
A move to a club that is performing well is usually always a good idea for young players looking to go out on loan. Learning to win is a big part of what makes a player grow; the sooner it gets drilled into their ‘DNA’, the better. However you must also consider the quality of players he would be competing against. Venlo’s nearest rivals in the Juplier League are the Ajax reserves, ‘Jong Ajax’, who cannot be promoted anyway. This deal could make or break Zelalem, however he doesn’t appear to be anywhere near to Wenger’s plans having never came close to getting a good run in the first team.
In other Arsenal news, the Gunners striker is a target for Aston Villa.