After a superb Olympic tournament for Germany, hoards of Arsenal fans were outraged upon Serge Gnabry’s exit this summer.
Despite the German finally showing his potential on the biggest stage, Gnabry slipped through the north London side’s fingers. For a fee of £5 million, Werder Bremen snapped up the 21-year-old in what appears a bargain deal.
However, Arsene Wenger’s recent comments suggest it’s unfair for Gunners to lament the deal. If the Frenchman is to be believed, the club gave its upmost to keep Gnabry at the Emirates.
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Since being plucked from the VfB Stuttgart youth ranks in 2011, Gnabry has never really nailed down a place in Arsenal’s starting XI.
Outings were often irregular in nature and despite 2013-14 appearing a watershed season, it quickly simmered out. Gnabry scored his first goal away to Swansea and racked up 14 caps, but was swiftly reduced to the bench again just weeks later.
The German was sent on loan to West Brom last season, but could only muster a single league appearance in what proved a disappointing spell. However, the potential was always there and Gnabry’s ability on the ball hadn’t gone unnoticed.
Therefore, there were no surprises that Germany called the youngster up for their Olympic side. The 21-year-old didn’t let them down as his six goals, making him the joint top scorer, saw him scoop a silver medal.
It was these promising performances in particular that prompted the outrage from Arsenal fans upon his exit to the Bundesliga.
After weeks of Gunners looking back on the move disapprovingly, Wenger has finally addressed the issue. It’s apparent that the manager of 20-years was equally annoyed to lose out on Germany’s Olympic talisman.
The Frenchman told BT Sport via a Facebook Live session that: “We didn't want to get rid of Gnabry, we wanted to keep him.
"But he was in the last year of his contract. We were close to extending his contract but finally he changed his mind and went to Werder Bremen.
"But I think we taught him a lot and I think if you ask him he would agree with that."
While such comments won’t soften the blow greatly for supporters, at least they can be buoyed by the fact Wenger feels similarly.
Then again, given Gnabry’s forgettable spell at West Brom and Arsenal’s current attacking bunch, it’s doubtful whether the German would have broken into the side anyway. Only time will tell whether Wenger has executed a shrewd move or dropped a blatant clanger.
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