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Sporting Kansas City signs Gedion Zelalem

The once highly touted youth prospect is coming to MLS

USA v Colombia: Round of 16 - FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015 Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Sporting Kansas City’s long-rumored acquisition of American midfielder Gedion Zelalem is finally complete. Zelalem’s potential MLS move was originally reported by the Washington Post’s Steven Goff on January 31st.

Zelalem is under contract for the remainder of the 2019 MLS season, with SKC holding club options for 2020 and 2021.

The 22-year-old holding midfielder joins SKC from English side Arsenal. He was a highly-touted prospect who had been a member of the Gunners since 2013, when he joined the club’s youth academy.

Zelalem spent the majority of his time at Arsenal with the club’s youth teams or on loan. He had a successful loan spell with Rangers (which was then in the second-division Scottish Championship), that ended with the club being promoted, during the 2015-2016 season.

Zelalem had a disappointing loan spell with Dutch second-division side VVV Venlo during the second half of the 2016-2017 season. He then returned to Arsenal, playing with the club’s U-23 team until moving to SKC.

His career was sidetracked by a devastating ACL tear while playing with the United States Men’s National Team during the 2017 U-20 FIFA World Cup. As a result of the injury, Zelalem did not play from May 2017 to September 2018.

Zelalem began his international career with Germany’s youth teams, before joining the U.S. U-20 team in 2015. He has also featured for the U.S. U-23 side during the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.