Tag Archives: Bayern Munich

The Curious Case of Serge Gnabry

Serge Gnabry will always feel like one that got away.

An extremely talented youth, he decided against renewing his contract with Arsenal back in 2016, instead returning to Germany to sign for Werder Breman.

You have to delve deep to discover what actually happened with Gnbary at Arsenal, and what led to him leaving the club that he agreed to join at 15.

Having agreed to join Arsenal in 2010 in a £100,000 deal from home town club former club VfB Stuttgart, Gnabry officially joined Arsenal for the 2011–12 season.

He played for the under-18s for the majority of the season but was then promoted to the reserves after impressive displays.

That summer he was promoted to Arsenal’s first team squad, joining the senior professionals at pre-season; playing for the Arsenal first team for a against FC Köln.

He then made his professional first-team debut for Arsenal at 17-years-old on 26 September 2012 against Coventry City in the League Cup as a 72nd-minute substitute for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Arsenal routed Coventry 6–1.

Less than a month later he made his Premier League debut in the 1–0 defeat against Norwich City at Carrow Road.

At 17 years and 98 days, he became Arsenal’s second-youngest player in the league’s history after Jack Wilshere. Four days later, he made his Champions League debut, coming on as a substitute in Arsenal’s 2–0 home loss to FC Schalke 04.

It certainly felt like a star was born as he spent the rest of the season jumping between U19’s and reserves whilst appearing a few times on the bench.

In the first game of the 2013–14 season, Gnabry was included in Arsenal’s first-team squad against Aston Villa and started the game on the bench. He then made his first start for the club on 22 September 2013 in the Premier League against Stoke City after Theo Walcott was ruled out just before kick-off.  He played 73 minutes before being subbed out for Ryo Miyaichi as Arsenal won the match 3–1.

He scored his first professional goal in the next league match against Swansea City to lead Arsenal to a 2–1 victory and leave them top of the Premier League table. On 26 October, he won a penalty away at Crystal Palace in an eventual 2–0 victory for Arsenal.

Gnabry’s impressive start to the season resulted in a nomination for the 2013 Golden Boy Award, and a new five-year contract with Arsenal. He was still just 18.

It was at the beginning of the 2014 season that things started to go downhill for the German.

2014/15 really should have been the breakthrough year for the teenager. The year he went bit-part player to getting some proper game time at Arsenal. Instead it was the beginning of a hellish period for him as he picked up a serious knee injury which would keep him away from first team action for over a year, and he would never be seen playing for Arsenal’s first team again.

Having got himself to full fitness, it joined West Bromwich Albion on a season-long loan in August 2015. The idea being that he would get game time, prove his worth, and return to Arsenal  at the beginning of 2016 as a Premier League-ready player.

Instead Tony Pulis ruined him, not playing him as he was not a centre back. In January 2016, he was recalled from his loan after lacking first-team action at West Brom, but Arsenal were unable to play him.

With a year left on his contract, there was a new deal on the table, but having played just 12 minutes of Premier League football in 2 years, Arsenal wanted to send him out on loan once more. Gnabry refused the new deal and pushed through a transfer to Werder Breman.

He would only stay at the club for a single season, making 27 league appearances scoring 11 goals while Werder Bremen finished 8th in the Bundesliga.

Bayern Munich then came in for him, signing Gnabry on a three-year deal for €8 million after activating a clause in his contract with Werder Bremen.

At this point, a lot of Arsenal fans begun pointing fingers. Not good enough for Arsenal but good enough for Bayern Munich they cried.

It would be justifiable if Arsenal had not offered him a new contract. They did.

3 days after joining Bayern Munich, they announced Gnabry would be moving to 1899 Hoffenheim on a season-long loan.

This is where it gets a bit confusing.

Gnabry left Arsenal for first team football because he did not want to go out on loan. 12 months after leaving, he was once again at a big club, and once again sent on loan. In an interview, Gnabry declared he decided to go out on loan to “gain more experience”.

And it is at this point I wonder if he regretted leaving Arsenal.

When you look at the minutes Alex Iwobi played last season – 1844 in the Premier League – these would have gone to Gnabry if he was at the club.

Taking into account what happened with Alexis Sanchez, Gnabry would be going into this season fighting Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil for a starting place.

Instead he has spent a season on loan in Germany, and is now a member of Bayern Munich’s fringe squad, having finally been given a shirt number this summer. it will be itneresting to see how much game time he actually gets.

In a years time Gnabry will only have a 12 months left on his contract. He will be just 23 and considered as “home grown” in England.

Arsenal could do a lot worse than reuniting with their former prodigy in 2019.

Keenos

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How many Twitter followers does your club have?

In November 2013, I did a little analysis to see who was the most followed football club on twitter. Arsenal came out on top, but what was surprising was that, at the time, Mesut Ozil had more followers than any Premier League football club.

As it is quite at work in my industry with the lead up to Christmas, I have decided to review the blog and update the figures.

To get a proper provisional analysis, the above is a list of teams who were in the Premier League in 2013, and are in it now.

The first interesting analysis is just how much Twitter has grown over the last 4 years. On average, Premier League sides have increased their following by 552%.

Secondly, Manchester United, who in 2013 were the 4th most followed side in the Premier League, are now topping the table.

In 2013, I noted that I was surprised to see Man U in 4th place as they are easily the most supported club in the UK, and one of the most supported in the world. It shows how poor their media team probably were back in 2013.

The growth of Manchester United aside, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have shown a similar growth pattern.

With regards to Liverpool and Arsenal, it shows how strong and historic the clubs are, that they have been able to continue to grow their support without league titles at a quicker rate than the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea who have won league titles. It shows success is not everything.

Saying that, Spurs now languish a long way behind Manchester City. I wonder how many of those fans that follow City had heard of the club when Twitter was first launched back in 2006?

City’s growth over Spurs does highlight that success is very important, especially when it comes to gaining new fans, and foreign fans.

Spurs have not much bigger a following than Everton, an equally unsuccessful side over the last 20 years. It perhaps shows that Spurs fans claim that there has been a power shift, and that they are a massive club, are false.

In terms of Twitter following, Spurs are the 6th most followed in England. They are probably also the 6th biggest club in the country.

It probably also shows the brand of the Premier League that the biggest growers (bar Manchester United) were smaller clubs, lower down the table. I feel a lot of their followers are general fans of the Premier League, rather than fans of the clubs they follow.

The second table is the clubs who were not in the Premier League in 2013, so I have no original data on them. What is interesting is Leicester City.

At 1.1million followers, they would be placed just behind Newcastle. It would have been interesting to see their 2013 data in comparison. I imagine it would have been not too much higher than Southampton. Leicester’s does show just how much success can increase support.

Like success has boasted Leicester, relegation is also clearly damaging.

Those clubs who went down have still grown their twitter following, but at a slower rate than those who stayed in the Premier League.

The 6 teams who are no longer in the Premier League have increased their Twitter following by, on average, 398%. The bottom 6 teams in the Premier League by followers have increased by 557%.

And finally we come on to how the Premier League sides compare to the rest of the world

The first observation is that Real Madrid have overtaken Barcelona since 2013. Although by the time you include alternative languages for both, Barcelona are still ahead.

One interesting thing to note is the Spanish version of Real Madrid’s twitter is followed by more than the English version, but the English version of Barcelona is followed by more than the Spanish version.

Perhaps this indicates that Real Madrid are more popular in Spain, whilst Barcelona are followed more by foreign fans. I know what I would prefer.

Another interesting thing to note is once you remove the English sides, the rest of the world has only grown by 293%. That against the Premier League’s growth of 522%. It shows that in terms of leagues, the Premier League is still the most popular in the world, even if Barcelona and Real Madrid are streaks ahead in terms of individual club.

The last thing to note is how small Celtic are.

With just 551,000 followers, they are not much bigger than Norwich City, and are well behind the likes of Crystal Palace, WBA and Swansea. They might be a big side in Scotland, but it certainly shows they are a big fish in a small pond. And if they ever did join the Premier League, they would be a very small fish in a big pond.

Until next time

Keenos

Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Arsenal’s Defensive Crisis & More

So a week or so without blogging has done me well. I feel refreshed, I have learnt some new words, and I have actually got some proper work done. But I am back, and I thought a good way to start off would be a recap of stuff that I would have blogged on in the last few weeks…

Mesut Ozil & Alexis Sanchez

Speculation is increasing that both will leave on a free in the summer. I would have dumped them both last summer and got in some replacements. My opinion is the same for January. Take what we can, and get in some replacements (Thomas Lemar and Julian Draxler still getting talked about).

Harry Winks

Who? Was what I asked when he got called up for England.

It turns out he plays for Spurs, and has started 4 Premier League games in his career. Good job devaluing the shirt Gareth. Still baffles me as to how Theo Walcott fails to make the England squad whilst the links of Jesse Lingard and this Winks fella get in.

THAT Spurs Book

White Hart Lane: The Spurs Glory Years 1899-2017

  • 2 League titles
  • 8 FA Cups

Arsene Wenger: We Want You to Stay 1996-2017

  • 3 League titles
  • 7 FA Cups

Spurs really are a deluded bunch.

“Super Clubs”

A lot has been written in recent years about Super Clubs. The likes of Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. A lot of what has been written is positive, blue prints on how they got to where they are, and how others should attain to get there.

Whilst the likes of the 4 previously mentioned sides, alongside the likes of Juventus. Inter and AC Milan are at the top of the footballing hierarchy, the life of a football club is cyclical, and just because you eat from the top table, does not mean you will not have your struggles.

Man U, for example, have not been the same since Sir Alex Ferguson left. The other British Super Club, Liverpool, are 26 years without a title.

Bayern Munich, after years of everyone saying this is how you run a club seem to be intent in ripping themselves apart through internal politics. Whilst the famed Barcelona La Masia academy seems to be no longer producing world superstars.

Real Madrid sit 7 points off top and have won just 2 league titles in 10 years.

The two Milan clubs have also struggled since Juventus returned from the match fixing scandal.

These are all great clubs. They have the history, the success, the European trophies. Yet they are like every other club, they have good periods and bad periods.

Arsenal are not at that top table. We have never been, and whilst we wish we were at the top, the fact is we are the level below.

Every clubs have their troubles, no matter if they are a super club, the one we should all dream to become, the one which we all try and copy. No one is immune from a poor period, a period of turmoil.

Sean Dyche for Arsenal

So Ian Wright said Sean Dyche could be the next Arsenal manager. Whilst I agree that Arsenal legends should not be abused for their view, they are not free from criticism. And this view point is just a little bit silly from Ian Wright.

I have seen some fans backing him. “Anyone but that c**T Wenger” I saw one Facebook post from an admin of a page with 25,000 people. This is just stupidity.

The majority of us believe that Arsene Wenger’s time is over, but it should not be anyone but Wenger. This is just stupid.

When Wenger does go, we need to get an elite manager. A proven winner. Do not let your agenda lead you down a path of anyone but Wenger.

Jack Wilshere

After two poor England performances, where the side lacked creativity, plenty are calling for Jack Wilshere to be rushed back into the first team.

We all know that Wilshere is England’s best central midfielder, and if fit, starts. But let’s not rush him.

I would not play him in any international friendly until the World Cup preparation starts at the end of the season. Concentrate on letting him get fit, and stay fit. The 2 weeks off every few weeks will do him the world of good. Then at the World Cup, he will (hopefully) be fit and ready to go.

What is the point in playing him in meaningless friendlies?

Defensive Crisis

So Shkodran Mustafi pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem for Germany against Azerbaijan. It has also been reported as a thigh strain.

With Laurent Koscielny plagued once more by his troublesome achilles, it is being reported that Arsenal face a defensive crisis ahead of the game against Watford.

The usual moaners are complaining that we did not buy a centre back in the summer.

If the above two are out, it still leaves us with Rob Holding, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal as the back 3. That is the same back 3 that won us the FA Cup Final. And we still have Calum Chambers in reserve.

I would not be surprised if Koscielny is fit to start on Saturday. His withdrawal from the French squad is more of a precaution.

But if he is out, we are certainly not in a defensive crisis.

The International Break

Mixed results for Arsenal players, as Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, Olivier Giroud, Nacho Monreal and Alexandre Lacazette helped their countries qualify.

Meanwhile Aaron Ramsey Wales and Sead Kolasinac’s Serbia just missed out on a play off.

I did smile when I read the moody dog shagger Alexis Sanchez will not be at the World Cup. Call me petty, but whilst he (and Mesut Ozil) want out of Arsenal, I want as little success for the pair as possible – unless it is in an Arsenal shirt.

Keenos