Serge Gnabry’s Arsenal career started in dramatic fashion as he scored with a diving header in a youth team friendly against Boreham Wood and there were several more notable moments along the way at various levels, but his time at the club has now come to an end after he joined Werder Bremen in a permanent deal.
Gnabry arrived at Arsenal from Stuttgart five years ago with a stellar reputation intact. It quickly became clear just why he was so highly regarded, with the winger showcasing his superb dribbling and his ability to cause problems for opponents with his direct runs into the penalty area.
Having joined Arsenal at the same time as Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral, Gnabry quickly settled into life with the Gunners and delivered some fine performances at U18 level. It wasn’t long before he stepped up to what was then the reserve team and the prospect didn’t appear fazed by coming up against physical and tactically aware opponents.
Arsene Wenger quickly recognised Gnabry’s potential, with the youngster being drafted into the first-team squad for the Premier League game away to Norwich City in the 2012/13 season. He later featured in the Champions League fixture at home to Schalke, but it was during the following campaign when he really came into his own in the first-team.
He also continued to catch the eye at youth level, particularly impressing in the NextGen Series as he scored against CSKA Moscow.
The 2013/14 season was memorable for Gnabry as he made 14 first-team appearances for the Gunners, scoring against Swansea City in the Premier League and delivering a particularly impressive display against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup.
At the time it appeared inevitable that Gnabry would push on to even greater heights, but injury effectively robbed him of a season of his career as he didn’t make a single first-team appearance during 2014/15. He did, however, feature for the U21s in the second half of the season and was deemed ready to head out on loan the following campaign.
His spell at West Bromwich Albion, however, certainly didn’t work out as expected, with Gnabry barely featuring for Tony Pulis’ side. He showcased that his ability remains very much intact with some good performances for Germany at the Olympics this summer, but Gnabry’s hopes of establishing himself at Arsenal were hampered by the presence of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as well as the progression of Alex Iwobi.
It is disappointing to see such a talented young player leave the club, especially as there is still a chance that Gnabry can fulfil his vast potential. From his perspective, however, it is easy to see why Gnabry wanted to leave and he will hope to prove to Arsenal that he is capable of making the grade elsewhere.