Arsene Wenger admits he’s ‘very sad’ that Serge Gnabry left Arsenal only to go on to become one of the finest players in world football.
The German winger joined the Gunners at the age of 15 from Stuggart and Wenger was a huge admirer of the midfielder. Gnabry was tipped for big things in north London but a disastrous loan spell with West Brom created doubts in the German’s mind about life in England.
The winger returned to the Gunners and agreed to signing a new contract before backtracking on the verbal agreement. Gnabry subsequently signed for Werder Bremen for a paltry £5m, only to sign for Bayern 12 months later.
The winger has since become one of the most feared wingers in the world at the Allianz Arena and he scored twice against Lyon to send the Bavarians through to the Champions League final, where they’ll face PSG.
And, while Wenger is delighted that Gnabry has developed into the player he believed he could become, he admits he’s sad that it was not at Arsenal.
‘Let’s not forget Gnabry, I bought him at the age of 15 from Stuttgart and he was injured a lot,’ Wenger told beIN SPORTS. ‘He’s creative, he can score goals, right-footed, left-footed, good power, good penetration, very, very clever with the timing of his runs.
His tendency was a bit too easy, like I told you about with young, talented players. ‘But he has matured a lot and he is one of the dominant players now in Germany. ‘No, no [I didn’t want to let him go]. We had an agreement with him.
I had given him out on loan to West Brom and he didn’t play a game, came back, he was injured. ‘We worked with him very hard for six months and he went out with the German national team under-21s. Bayern made a deal with Bremen and in the end he didn’t want to extend the contract [at Arsenal].
‘I was very sad that we couldn’t get over the line with him because I knew that he would have a great future. He can play No 10, he can be a No 9, he is a very intelligent player.’