Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has opened up on the way the club lost the services of Serge Gnabry, who has gone on to shine for Bayern Munich.
Gnabry made his professional debut for Arsenal at the age of 17, back in 2012 when he entered a League Cup clash against Coventry City in the 72nd minute in the place of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and he went on to play a total of 18 games for the club before leaving on loan to West Bromwich Albion in 2015. The temporary move was cancelled and he returned to the Emirates the following winter due to not getting enough game-time with the Baggies. Wenger says he tried to “rebuild” him following that “very bad experience” which had destroyed his confidence.
In the summer of 2016, Arsenal sold Gnabry to Werder Bremen for a reported fee of £5 million, and this is where Wenger believes Bayern had a hand involved. Even back then, and now again, Wenger said the club had tried to convince Gnabry to sign a new contract but the player had refused. It was reported at the time that it was all about game-time, but Wenger said in an interview with beIN Sports that the Bavarians had been working behind the scenes to prize him away from north London, implying that it was the Bundesliga champions who actually stood behind Gnabry’s resolve not to prolong his stay with the Gunners.
At the moment, Gnabry is one of Bayern’s key players and a regular German international. This season he has already netted five times in nine games for his current club, and Arsenal fans can only look on from distance and wonder what could have been.
There is certainly a lesson to be learned from this, and it is to be hoped that the club haven’t missed it. There is a lot of talent among the current crop of youngsters, and Arsenal should be keeping a closer eye on what goes on “behind the scenes” in order to prevent the Gnabry scenario from repeating.