As rumours circulate about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future – it was claimed yesterday that the midfielder is tempted by a move to Liverpool – Arseblog News can’t help but think back nine months to Arsenal’s decision to cash in on another talented attacking midfielder who had just one year left on his contract.
On that occasion, the Gunners sold Serge Gnabry to Bundesliga side Werder Bremen for a fee thought to be in the region €4-6 million – a steal of a deal for a Germany under-21 international with Premier League experience.
Yes, he’d endured a terrible run of injuries and a disappointing loan spell at West Bromwich Albion, but the player’s performances at the Rio Olympics were so impressive that Arsene Wenger urged him to stay at the Emirates. There was even speculation that Bayern Munich were the real engineers of Bremen’s approach as the Bavarian giants took a long-term approach to capturing the ex-Stuttgart man.
Since leaving N5, Gnabry has flourished at Bremen, scoring 11 goals in 22 Bundesliga appearances this season, to help them to 8th in the table. There have been injury niggles along the way, however, with a hat-trick on his full Germany debut added to his CV, it’s obvious his confidence is soaring and that suitors will again be knocking at his door.
Despite calling time on his Arsenal career prematurely, Gnabry remains fond of the Gunners, even travelling to Wembley to watch the recent FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City.
— Serge Gnabry (@SergeGnabry) April 23, 2017
He’s also a firm admirer of Arsene Wenger. “Yeah, of course,” was his reply when asked by The Set Pieces if the Frenchman should sign another deal at the club.
“He was the one that gave me a chance. I have deep respect for him and I wish him all the best.”
Gnabry also attributed his upturn in form to hard work, staying fit and getting played regularly by coach Alexander Nouri. “I work hard, it’s that simple I think,” he continued.
“He [Nouri] has played me. The team’s on a great run. He’s got it under control. So I’m just benefiting.”
“The past is the past,” he added when asked whether Arsenal might come to regret selling him.
“I’m healthy. I’m able to play. I’ve got my confidence back up so those are just the results.”
While we’re pleased to see Gnabry delivering on the promise he showed when he broke into the Gunners first team as a 17-year-old, we can’t help but feel gutted that his pace and power isn’t something Wenger can call upon anymore.
Here’s hoping we don’t make the same mistake again with the Ox.
You can read the full Gnabry feature in The Set Pieces, here. It’s well worth 10 minutes of your time.