Arsenal have recruited a « little Messi » who is just … 5 years old

Dribbles, strikes, speed… Zayn Ali Salman is a prodigy. The London club recruited him even if, officially, he is still too young to enter his academy. Some fear abuses.

« Arsenal may languish in the middle of the table these days, he hopes that a new recruit dubbed ‘the little Messi’ will help him to win the championship which has eluded him for twenty years », written, a bit caustic, The Times. Because, despite his extreme precocity, the recruit in question has just celebrated his five years.

It’s been a year since Zayn Ali Salman was spotted by the North London club. “The youngest recruit of all time”, comment The Times, explaining that the boy was approached by the Gunners even before he left kindergarten.

In a video that the BBC devoted to the little genius, Austin Schofield, his former trainer, is ecstatic: with children his age and even a little older, “He was above everyone, much faster and with more envy”. With the agreement of his father, the coach made him play among older players. And that’s where an Arsenal recruiter spotted him (helped by the multitude of videos his father posts on Instagram).

“This kid does things he is not supposed to do”, comments Stephen Deans, still in the report of the BBC. The recruiter refused to believe that Zayn Ali was still in kindergarten. “The way he hits the ball, it’s too precise for someone his age. ”

The dad of the little prodigy says he knew very early on that his son had extraordinary gifts:

I remember right after he was born the nurse put him on his stomach and he lifted his head and started looking around. ”

And Zayn Ali also had a sense of balance early on.

Drift ?

In spite of these exceptional gifts, some fear the abuses that could engender “The professionalization of football at such a young age”, written from Spain the specialized site Marca. An Arsenal spokesperson interviewed by the Times responded to these fears: “At his age, Zayn is not yet officially part of our academy”, he explains, specifying that, for the moment, the boy is just taking part in “Sessions” open to children under 6 and under 8. And that the first to officially enter the academy are the “U-9”, the under 9s.

That said, it is likely that Arsenal will do everything to prevent this budding Messi from treading the lawns of other clubs. The BBC also indicates that others “Big names” football have already made offers to him.

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