Akpom and Zelalem loaned out by Arsenal

Akpom and Zelalem loaned out by Arsenal

Arsenal youth academy products Akpom and Zelalem will spend the rest of the season away from the Emirates.

Dylan Walsh

Arsenal have announced that youngsters Chuba Akpom and Gedion Zelalem have left the club on loan until the end of the season.

Akpom has joined Championship leaders Brighton and Hove Albion, whilst Zelalem has signed for Dutch second-tier side, VVV-Venelo.

The youngsters have struggled for game-time this season, with Akpom playing just one EFL Cup game this season, and Zelalem making two substitute appearances in the same competition.

Both players have been highly praised by both Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal fan base, but with both players yet to break into the first team, the option to send both players out on loan seems like the right move from the Arsenal boss.

Unlucky Akpom

Akpom looked set to start the opening day of the season for the Gunners after an impressive pre-season saw the England-youth international score in every pre-season game, however the striker was an unused substitute in Arsenal’s 4-3 loss at home to Liverpool on the opening day.

Despite his lack of game time this season, Seagulls manager Chris Houghton is pleased to have acquired Akpom’s services for the rest of the season, saying: “He is a young talent who gained valuable experience with Hull in the Championship last season, will give us really good pace in the forward areas and complement the other strikers at the club."

He added, “We fought off competition from other clubs to sign Chuba, and we would like to thank Arsenal for the opportunity of working with him for the rest of the season.”

Zelalem not yet ready

The 2016/17 season looked to be the season Zelalem took Arsenal the storm. After making his debut at the age of 16 in the FA Cup, the American u23 international has found it hard to maintain minutes in the Arsenal team.

The 19-year-old midfielder spent last season on loan at Rangers, and helped the fallen Scottish giants win promotion back to the Scottish Premier League. Zelalem also scored the winning penalty in the Scottish Cup semi-final against hated rivals Celtic, to see the Gers progress to the final.

Despite his impressive spell at Rangers, Zelalem has found it difficult to break into the Arsenal first team, playing just 16 minutes in the EFL Cup for the Gunners.