Zelalem admits imminent VVV-Venlo move is good opportunity

The highly-rated youngster will spend the rest of the season on loan in the Netherlands after finding game time difficult to come by at Arsenal

Gedion Zelalem is on the verge of joining Dutch second division side VVV-Venlo on a season long loan from Arsenal.

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The United States under-23 midfielder was asked by a local Dutch media outlet about his thoughts on the move and said he was “very happy” to be joining, confirming that the move would be completed imminently.

Zelalem, who has been training with Venlo’s reserve side this week, turned 20 on Thursday and is desperate for game time after making a sole appearance for the Gunners first team as a substitute in the EFL Cup.

The highly-rated youngster was born in Berlin and played for Hertha’s schoolboy teams before emigrating to America with his father in 2006.

A composed midfielder with excellent vision, the 19-year-old spent the 2015-16 season on loan at Scottish giants Rangers and contributed eight assists in 28 games to help them to promotion back to the Premiership.

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“He might be a bit longer to mature because he is a little bit behind on the body structure,” Wenger said of Zelalem in the summer. “But I’m sure he will be a great player who matures maybe a bit slowly physically.

“But overall, I’m convinced that he’ll have a great career.”

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Arsenal’s academy manager Andries Jonker has used already his Dutch connections to the club’s benefit several times this season, and was involved in setting up the loans of Kelechi Nwakali and Stefan O’Connor to MVV Maastricht as well as Tafari Moore’s move to FC Utrecht and Dan Crowley’s spell with Go Ahead Eagles.

VVV are currently top of the Jupiler League and looking to secure promotion to the Eredivisie.

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