Arsene Wenger has explained why Arsenal showed Serge Gnabry the door before getting the chance to prove himself the star he would later become at Bayern Munich.
The Germany winger was sold by the Gunners to Werder Bremen in August 2016 for just £5million before a year later joining Bayern after he failed to build on the early promise he had shown at Emirates Stadium following his arrival from Stuttgart as a 16-year-old.
His time in the Premier League is perhaps best remembered by a poor loan stint at West Brom the season before he left, with even Tony Pulis now admitting his shock at the witnessing Gnary become the player he is today.
And Gnabry, who earlier in the season scored four times for Bayern Munich as they destroyed Tottenham 7-2, was again on the mark in London on Tuesday as his two-goal salvo left Chelsea on the brink of Champions League elimination.
However, former Arsenal manager Wenger, working as a summariser for BeIn Sport, insists that while Gnabry deserves praise for turning his career around, he is adamant Arsenal were correct in showing him the door.
“He has no real limitations it’s more how much does he want to suffer,” said Wenger. “Because he has pace, power, technical ability, he’s very intelligent, sometimes he looks for the easy way in football. That’s what was his problem. He lacked a bit.
“I gave him to West Brom, it didn’t work out at all. In fairness I think we had an agreement with him but Bayern stole him away from Werder Bremen.
“He’s a good player. He has individual ability and collective ability. We had an agreement with him but because he didn’t play at West Brom I let him go with the U21s in the summer with the German national team and he did very well of course.
“We had prepared him for us to sign his new contract but then suddenly he wanted to go to Werder Bremen. But it was not Werder Bremen that bought him it was Munich that bought him. Because six months or less than one year later he moved from Bremen to Bayern but it was a done deal before.
“He was at the end of his contract and we thought that he would stay because he told he would stay.”
Gnabry has been linked with a move to Manchester City as part of the Germans’ ongoing efforts to sign Leroy Sane, but Bayern manager Hans-Dieter Flick seems in no rush to let the 24-year-old leave – and seems hugely impressed by his form after his tough spell with Arsenal.
“Playing in Germany he’s now just doing fantastically well and with Bayern he’s really developing well,” said Flick.
“He’s really capable, he’s got very good skills, so looking at it that way I’m very happy he’s in Germany with us.”