Is there time for the Bavarian dream?
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images APRIL 2014

Despite Arsenal missing out on the highly coveted Champions League status, rumours spreading around suggest that a former Gooner is available for transfer if the Gunners choose to pursue it. Coach Mikel Arteta has stated that he is looking to bring in "a central midfielder, a winger and a striker," and this player is a perfect suit for one of the three positions. 

Early Career

Serge Gnabry signed for Arsenal in 2010 after local club VFB Stuttgart agreed on a fee of £100,000 at 15 years old. As a result, they had to wait until 2011 when he was 16 to get their hands on the talented youngster. Serge made ten appearances for the Gunners but struggled to make the important breakthrough from the U23s into the first-team squad. 

He was shipped out to the Hawthorns for a season on loan but life in England was proving too difficult for the midfielder, who only made one appearance for the Baggies. 

Serge opted to move back to Germany in 2016 after an unsuccessful attempt to break through again to Arsenal's first team. He joined Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen where he picked up from, scoring 11 goals in 27 appearances. 

It was enough to impress the scouts of Germany's best, Bayern Munich, who swiftly activated an £8 million clause to acquire his rights from Bremen. Serge was then sent back on loan, this time to TSG Hoffenheim to gain some more playing time. He hit the ground running again with 10 goals in 22 appearances. 

On the big stage

Then was his time. Gnabry found his way into Bayern's side netting frequently in numerous wins and marching towards the Bundesliga title. In 2019, Serge netted four goals against Tottenham Hotspur in a 7-2 win in the Champions League. He then added to his tally with a brace against Chelsea in 2020, making him the first person to score six goals away in London in the Champions League

At this time, Serge was now one of the most prolific wingers in the world, whether it be on the left or the right. He was voted in the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season after Bayern Munich beat Paris Saint Germain for the best continental trophy available in the world. 

<strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/international-football/2021/03/13/germany-bundesliga/1063320-werder-bremen-1-3-bayern-munich-thomas-muller-masterclass-leads-the-bavarians-to-victory.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/international-football/2021/03/13/germany-bundesliga/1063320-werder-bremen-1-3-bayern-munich-thomas-muller-masterclass-leads-the-bavarians-to-victory.html'>Serge Gnabry</a></strong> celebrating the UEFA <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/03/09/manchester-city/1104542-man-of-the-match-fernandinho-shows-why-city-should-look-to-retain-him.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2022/03/09/manchester-city/1104542-man-of-the-match-fernandinho-shows-why-city-should-look-to-retain-him.html'>Champions League</a></strong> win with <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/international-football/2022/02/18/germany-bundesliga/1102338-bayern-munich-vs-greuther-furth-preview-how-to-watch-kick-off-time-team-news-predicted-lineups-and-ones-to-watch.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/international-football/2022/02/18/germany-bundesliga/1102338-bayern-munich-vs-greuther-furth-preview-how-to-watch-kick-off-time-team-news-predicted-lineups-and-ones-to-watch.html'>Bayern Munich</a></strong>.
Serge Gnabry celebrating the UEFA Champions League win with Bayern Munich.

His transfer value surpassed the £80 million mark, making it difficult for teams such as Barcelona and Real Madrid who were interested in the German winger. He was now a firm part of the Germany national team as well, with 20 goals in 31 appearances so far for DFB

So why Arsenal?

Well, to start with, Arsenal require a winger. Record signing Nicolas Pepe is clearly out of favour and not in the picking order and may be shipped off when the transfer window opens.

Bukayo Saka also needs to be rested, being Arsenal's 3rd most-used player in the Premier League with a total of 2,991 minutes, only behind Gabriel Magalhaes and Aaron Ramsdale. With the five substitute rule being instituted and Europa League beckoning for the Gunners, Arteta needs to bring in a winger for rotation with Saka

But why would Serge be encouraged to join a Europa League side? As seen above, Gnabry has rejected multiple contract offers with Bayern, Fabrizio Romano reports. Negotiations have said to been going since October, with the winger most recently turning down an offer in excess of £140k-a-week.

A flurry of talented wingers are being tested out for the Bavarian outfit including Leroy Sane, Kingsley Coman & the upcoming Jamal Musiala, which means that Serge is no longer confirmed a starting place every week. 

With Gnabry's former links with Arsenal, he said in an interview with ProDirect Soccer in 2019 with social media star Chunkz saying, "Once a Gunner, always a Gunner." This seems to excite fans who bring this up as their number one reason why the winger is 'definitely' coming back to the Emirates

Despite all of this, there has been no confirmed interest or offer from any side. The only talks that have been discussed have been inside Real Madrid's camp, but nothing has materialised from this. It may be obvious that if Los Blancos were to bid on the star, he would be convinced by the prospect of Champions League football, especially as current holders of the title. 

However, many wingers have had torrid times in Madrid. Real also boasts an influx of wingers such as Vinicius Junior, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vazquez, Rodrygo, Eden Hazard & now the preferred Federico Valverde who has reformed into a defensive winger from central midfield as displayed effectively throughout the Champions League final against Liverpool.

<strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2021/11/25/chelsea-fc/1094012-the-mystery-that-is-michy.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2021/11/25/chelsea-fc/1094012-the-mystery-that-is-michy.html'>Eden Hazard</a></strong> has struggled at <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2021/05/27/arsenal/1072768-who-is-arsenal-target-emi-buendia.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en/football/2021/05/27/arsenal/1072768-who-is-arsenal-target-emi-buendia.html'>Real Madrid</a></strong> since making the move from Chelsea.
Eden Hazard has struggled at Real Madrid since making the move from Chelsea.

Where would he fit in?

Gnabry's playstyle is predominantly catered on the right-hand side, offering good rotation for Bukayo Saka who hasn't had a replacement option since Willian in the 2020-21 season. Saka was seen towards the back-end of the season struggling with knocks picked up and Arteta is clear that a winger will be purchased. 

Bukayo Saka receiving medical treatment after picking up a knock.
Bukayo Saka receiving medical treatment after picking up a knock.

Bayern's number 7 can also play on the left, offering competition for Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli who have switched depending on who is on the better patch of form. Smith Rowe was initially preferred with star performances including the *first* North London derby, while Martinelli went on a rampage after his return from injury with key performances highlighted such as his brace at Elland Road

Gnabry can be utilised during league games as well as an important asset in Arsenal's cruise for the trophy in Europe.  If the Gunners can bring the starlet home, it's no doubt that he will provide some comfortability to Arsenal's already formidable attack. 

It may be considered impossible, but is there time for the Bavarian dream? Is a return on the cards for one of Arsenal's finest Hale End graduates? Only time will tell as this summer's transfer window has the potential to be the best window in a while, especially with gargantuan deals surfacing the Premier League already such as Erling Haaland joining champions Manchester City

 

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