Serge Gnabry: Mesut Ozil has been on the German's hype train since 2014

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Serge Gnabry

The story of Serge Gnabry is an intriguing one.

Born to an Ivorian father and German mother in Stuttgart, the rapid winger has become one of the most exciting players in world football.

However, it hasn't been without its setbacks.

Rarely afforded much game time at Arsenal, playing just 18 times for the Gunners, it took a move back to his homeland to rejuvenate a career that was staggering. 

Tony Pulis claimed he wasn't good enough for West Brom when he was loan in 2015/16. "You could knock me over with a feather," he said.

And with that, it seemed as though he was destined to be an average player who never quite cut it.

That was until he left Arsenal.

Gnabry was offered new terms by Arsene Wenger but in a decision described as the "hardest" of his career to date, he left north London behind, dissatisfied and frustrated with his development. 

Gnabry in action for Arsenal

As it happens, it was the best choice he could have made. Gnabry moved to Werder Bremen and then secured a switch to Bayern Munich.

Instantly, eyebrows were raised at the Emirates Stadium. How had a player that was deemed good enough for Bayern slip through Arsene Wenger's net? The reply was simple - he didn't want to be there.

Via a loan move to Hoffenheim, Gnabry has become one of the most electrifying players on the planet. He has lit up the Champions League, scoring against Barcelona in their remarkable 8-2 drubbing and then adding another two versus Lyon. 

The first was a rasping drive on his weaker left foot after cutting in from the right. Arjen Robben eat your heart out. 

In total this term, the German international, who was 13 goals in 13 caps for his national team, has found the back of the net 23 times. On top of that, he has 14 assists. This is a special player doing miraculous things on a weekly basis.

Gnabry in action for Bayern

Though, for an isolated figure at Arsenal, this will come as no surprise. 

Mesut Ozil has long been a fan of Gnabry, tipping the 25-year-old for stardom ever since 2014. Clearly, the playmaker has a good eye for talent.

It was Ozil who informed Germany boss Joachim Low of his talents in that very year. Low wanted to call Gnabry up for the 2014 World Cup off the back of messages from both Per Mertesacker and Ozil.

He commented: "Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil told me that he was crazy in training and that he had a lot of pace. But then he suffered an injury." 

That wasn't the last of it. In 2015, Arsenal's number 10 rather bizarrely included Gnabry in his ultimate XI alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Phillip Lahm. 

Ozil and Gnabry

The tip of the iceberg was a set of quotes from 2016. 

Speaking to the official Arsenal magazine (via The Express), Ozil remarked: "Then there’s Serge Gnabry, who I like a lot as a player. He’s really robust, very determined and with a real will to win." 

That will to win has never been more evident than during Bayern's run to the Champions League final.

Ozil has been on the hype train for six years now and we've seen plenty join it since. It wouldn't be surprising if Gnabry became an ever greater star.

Valued at £64.8m, he already has a hefty price tag on his shoulders.

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