Tag Archives: Serge Gnabry

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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England, Serge Gnabry, Mike Dean, Nabil Fekir & Spurs

England

I went out to France to watch England v Wales in the Lille fan park with tens of thousands other Englishmen. The majority of people I spoke to did not particularly like the English national team. Boring, predictable, overpaid failures, was the general consensus.

But we travelled out there in our thousands. It was out of national pride, national loyalty, rather than to support the team, that we all travelled.

England games bore me. I have no real interest in them. The Wembley crowd is a joke, and as poor as the fans.

I did not watch the England v Germany game. We drew 0-0, and the headlines were hilarious.

The bar for England is set so low that we see a draw as a victory. It is all a bit Spursy. Celebrating draws like they are wins. Celebrating a fake progression. Getting excited when we have won nothing.

It probably is not a surprise that England consistently fail when it has so many Spurs (and Liverpool) players in the squad.

I remember back 20 years ago, having players in the England squad, and more than your rivals, was something to be proud of. These days it is pointless, especially as England are so poor.

If the likes of 25-year-old Jesse Lindgard is seen as part of the future of England, I can do without.

Tonight we play Brazil. I have little to no interest.

Serge Gnabry

I remember when Bayern Munich signed Serge Gnabry, a lot of fans got their knickers in a twist. As if Bayern Munich signing him showed Arsene Wenger had made a mistake in selling the German youngster to Werder Breman.

At the time of him joining Munich I questioned his intentions.

He left Arsenal for 1st team football, but then leaves Breman, who he was playing for week in, week out, for Bayern Munich. If he was not good enough for Arsenal 12 months previous, it is unlikely he would suddenly be better than Ribery, Robben, Thiago, etc.

At the time, I predicted that Gnabry was signed because Munich did not want an opponent to sign him, and wanted to control who he plays for – and against. That they have a history of doing this with other young, talented players in Germany.

Low-and-behold, Munich loaned out the 22-year-old to Hoffenheim.

Gnabry picked up an injury in just his 2nd game and has been out injured since.

Taking into account he missed a year shortly after making his Arsenal debut, and missed 6 weeks of football last season, another 3 months at the beginning of this season is clearly a worrying trend.

My view of Gnabry at Bayern Munich remains the same as it did when he joined them. I would be very surprised if he ever actually plays a game of any note for the German giants.

Mike Dean

The referee for the Arsenal v Spurs game is Mike Dean. Predictably, this made Arsenal Twitter explode in fear and anger.

I wonder if any other sides fans care about referees as much as Arsenal fans?

There was a time when Arsenal had won just 3 out of 22 games over a 5 year period that Mike Dean had taken charge for. A poor record, but nothing to blame the referee on.

In the 16 games since that run, Arsenal’s record with Mike Dean in charge is remarkably better, just the 2 defeats away to Chelsea and at home to Manchester United in those 16 games.

Our results against top teams with Mike Dean in charge recently has seen fairly standard results…

We should be beating small sides like Spurs no matter who is in refereeing.

Nabil Fekir

Don’t know, don’t care, but as the shops have their Christmas decorations out, it must be that time of year when the newspapers publish millions of columns of click bait to top up that advertising revenue.

Spurs love in

I will never understand Arsenal fans who put Spurs on a pedestal.

They have won 2 League Cups in 27 years. Finished above Arsenal once in 22 years. Yet some Arsenal fans act like they are the resurrection. The next coming of Jesus Christ. That one year finishing above Arsenal makes them superior.

I read people all over social media moaning that 3 FA Cups in 4 seasons is “not good enough”, “not acceptable.” They demand we “be more like Spurs.”

So what you want is for us to not win any trophies, yet finish top 4?

You probably spent the time between 2005 – 2014 moaning that top 4 meant nothing and we should be focusing on winning trophies.

In recent years, we have won trophies, whilst Spurs are celebrated for “progression” and “putting the pressure on”.

Would I take Arsenal’s last 10 years over Spurs last 10 years? Yes.
Would I take Arsenal’s last 5 years over Spurs last 5 years? Yes.
Would I take Arsenal’s last 3 years over Spurs last 3 years? Yes.
Would I take Arsenal’s last year over Spurs last year? Yes.

No matter which period you look at, whether it be 10, 5, 3 or 1, Arsenal have been more successful than Spurs. We have won trophies.

I would not trade the last 1 / 3 / 5 / 10 years of Arsenal’s “success” for what Spurs have(not) achieved in the same period.

As for the so called Arsenal fans who want the team to lose to spurs this weekend, you can get in the bin.

Keenos

Serge Gnabry joins Bayern Munich – Why did Arsenal let him leave?

Former Arsenal youngster Serge Gnabry has joined Bayern Munich, and valid points are being made by many Arsenal fans.

Just why did we let him go? Why have we not re-signed him? Is this Arsene Wenger’s Pogba moment? Well to have a proper discussion on the matter, we need to look at the full picture.

Why did Serge Gnabry leave Arsenal?

The key question in the Segre Gnabry scenario is just why did Arsenal let him join Werder Bremen? For your answer, you have to roll back not to last summer when he left The Gunners, but to 2014.

March 2014, Gnabry picked up a knee injury against, ironically, Bayern Munich. Arsenal took their time rehabilitating the then 18 year old. The injury ruled him out for pretty much an entire year as the clubs medical staff rebuilt his knee.

That meant 2014/15 was a write off for the youngster. It was supposed to be his break through season. Instead he spent it in rehabilitation. Ensuring that the knee injury would not plague him throughout his career.

By the time 2015/16 came around, Gnabry was fit and ready to go, but he lacked match practise. He needed game time. So a decision was made to loan him out to WBA for the season. He was just 20 so a year playing Premier League football for a mid table Premier League team would see him come back to Arsenal stronger, fitter, and ready to continue his career.

What followed was a year of frustration for Gnabry. For some reason, having bought Gnabry in on loan,Tony Pulis gave Gnabry just 12 minutes of Premier League football. The loan deal was a complete and utter failure.

Upon returning to Arsenal, Gnabry was in a position where he had played no football for 2 years, was coming up to his 21st birthday, and had a single year left on his contract.

Gnabry was offered a new deal but, having barely played for 2 years, he wanted assurances of first team football.

It was impossible for Arsene Wenger to guarantee first team football to Gnabry with him having Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of him in the pecking order. Add in a returning Danny Welbeck and up and coming Alex Iwobi, Gnabry might not have even been guaranteed a place in the Arsenal 1st team squad.

Gnabry turned down the contract, and engineered a move back to Germany where Werder Bremen could provide him the 1st team football he desired.

You could not blame Gnabry for wanting 1st team football, and you could not blame Arsenal for not being able to give him what he wanted. The two parted ways in mutual consent.

Were Arsenal proved correct?

Last season Serge Gnabry scored 11 goals in 27 games for Werder Bremen. He also netted a hat trick on his debut for Germany – although this was against San Marino.

This hat trick had man Arsenal fans screaming about the mistake Wenger had made in letting Gnabry go.

But then let’s look closer to home.

Gnabry is a right winger. And whilst his return of 11 goals in 27 games was exceptional, Theo Walcott quietly netted 19 goals in 33 games.

Walcott is massively underrated at Arsenal. 19 in 33 last season. So whilst Arsenal fans were screaming at the error in letting Gnabry go, they were ignoring the fact that on the right side of Arsenal’s midfield, Theo Walcott was having an exceptional season, and outperforming Gnabry.

Of course, a case could be made that Gnabry could have played left wing ahead of Alex Iwobi.

Last season for Werder Bremen, Gnabry played througout the front 4 position. Left, right, behind the striker, up front. Doing that job at Arsenal was a man called Alexis Sanchez.

Anyone who sits there and claims Gnabry should have started ahead of Sanchez is an idiot.

The fact that Joel Campbell was also allowed to leave (on loan) and Lucas Perez played so little games, highlights just how little game time would have been available to Gnabry.

And we have not even spoken about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Should Arsenal have re-signed Gnabry?

On paper, a deal should have been obvious. We reportedly had a first option clause inserted int he deal with Werder Bremen, enabling us to have an offer accepted by Bremen if we equalled what other teams have offered. Arsenal could have put in a bid for Gnabry in the last couple of weeks but it ignores the fact that:

a) Gnabry would have had to have agreed to join Arsenal
b) Arsenal would have had space for Gnabry

On the first, reports from Germany are that Gnabry himself engineered a move away from Werder Bremen.

Werder Bremen chairman Klaus Filbry has been highly critical of the young German

“I would have hoped for some more perseverance from Serge,” Filbry told Werderstube. “Maybe he opted for the easiest way. I think it’s a pity, but I wish him all the best.

“I was hoping that he could imagine a longer stay at Bremen – and the talks we had also suggested that was an option. But then he did not really get going again after his injury. Maybe that made him change his mind.

“The decision made by the coach [to drop Gnabry] were absolutely understandable. We were successful and won.”

It seems Gnabry had decided to leave to join Bayern Munich before Munich had even put in a bid for him. Had Arsenal also come in for him, Gnabry would probably have picked Bayern Munich.

We then have the fact that, like last summer, Arsenal do not have a place for Serge Gnabry.

In the new 3-4-3 formation we are playing, the likes of Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi have seen their game time cut. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has had to recreate himself as a wing back. Gnabry would have struggled for game time at Arsenal, and would have found himself as an understudy to Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.

Of course, had either Ozil or Sanchez left, Gnabry could have replaced them. But would you, as a ready and a fan, been happy with selling Sanchez and replacing him with Gnabry? No you wouldn’t be.

Since joint Weder Bremen, Gnabry has recently seen a recurrence of his injury issues, picking up both back, knee and muscular problems in the last 3 months.

Arsenal simply do not have space for Gnabry. We need to be buying better than what we have, Gnabry is not that.

But what then for the question of him not being good enough for Arsenal but being good enough for Bayern Munich.

Gnabry future at Byaern Munich

So Serge Gnabry, not good enough for Arsenal, not even good enough for WBA, now finds himself at the German champions. Surely that shows his class. The mistakes made by others?

The deal actually reminds me of when Chelsea bought Shaun Wright-Phillips from Manchester City for £21m.

At the time, Wright-Phillips was being heavily linked with Arsenal. In came Chelsea who overpaid for the Englishman, sticking him on a big money contract. He ended up as a massive flop, scored just 3 league goals, and was sold back to Manchester City just 3 seasons later.

Chelsea did not sign Wright-Phillips because they needed him, or because he was good enough for them, they signed him to stop an opponent getting him.

Bayern Munich have a record of doing similar in Germany.

Over the years they have signed countless players from other German sides to either weaken an opponent or to simply stop an opponent signing them.

Had Gnabry gone to Borussia Dortmund or RB Leipzeg, he would have improved both outfits. So Bayern Munich went in for the kill. They signed a player who is not as good as Arjen Robben, Frank Ribeiry, Douglas Costa or Kingsley Coman, purely to stop him going to an opponent.

With their pursuit of Alexis Sanchez, they have clearly not signed Serge Gnabry because they believe him to be good enough for them, but because they want to stop an opponent getting better.

If is fairly ironic that Gnabry did not signed a new contract at Arsenal due to a lack of 1st team football, to a year later join Bayern Munich where he will not get 1st team football.

 

I was disappointed when Serge Gnabry left Arsenal. I felt at the time we should have tried our best to keep him. I saw his talent, his ability.

It was a mistake letting him leave last summer, but it certainly was not a Sir Alex Ferguson / Paul Pogba error.

He could have been a good back up / competition to the wingers last year, and this year could have been good back up for Sanchez and Ozil. But he clearly did not want to be back up. He wanted 1st team football.

I wonder why, 12 months later when joining Bayern Munich, 1st team football is no longer as important to him?

Keenos