Serge Gnabry was once an Arsenal man, but primarily on account of a lack of playing time, the German international decided to move back to Germany, where he signed with Werder Bremen. It has long been speculated, however, that Gnabry’s decision to leave Arsenal for Bremen may not have been entirely about his minutes. Gnabry’s former coach, Arsene Wenger, repeated an theory of his own in a recent interview he gave to beIN SPORTS.
Wenger told the network,
We tried to extend his contract for a very long time and I think that Bayern manipulated behind the scenes, that if he went to Bremen he would join Bayern after.
Of course, the legendary French manager did not offer any evidence, but it is an interesting theory nonetheless. Wenger went on to talk about how Gnabry, “lacked confidence in some stages” and had a “very bad experience at West Brom.”
Already in 2016, Sky Germany speculated that Gnabry would in fact sign with Bayern Munich and immediately go on loan to Werder Bremen. After the Rio Olympics, Gnabry declined to extend his contract and instead transferred to Bremen; Wenger said in January, “At the time it looked like Bayern Munich were behind it,” but he also reiterated that Arsenal had sold Gnabry, not to Bayern, but to Bremen. The circle of speculation seemed complete when Gnabry then transferred to Bayern a season later.
Be that as it may, Arsenal’s handling of Serge Gnabry as young player was, in fact, extremely poor, and Wenger has only himself to blame for Gnabry’s departure. If a club loans out a player, they had better make sure the receiving club gives the player a chance to play! Arsenal sent Gnabry to West Bromwich Albion to sit on the bench. Why would he want to stay?
Bayern Munich’s handling of Serge Gnabry was much better, in contrast. After signing Gnabry, Bayern sent him on loan to Hoffenheim to play under the dynamic Julian Nagelsmann and then seamlessly integrated him in the squad last year. The entire process was a masterclass in how to groom a young player with potential. Gnabry even recently praised Nagelsmann’s influence on his career.