What a difference five years can make. In 2015, Serge Gnabry was sent on loan to West Bromwich Albion in the hope of getting regular game-time and therefore giving him a better chance of working his way into the Arsenal side.
It did not happen. The German winger played a total of 137 minutes, including a cameo against Chelsea in the Premier League and two appearances n the League Cup
Tony Pulis, manager at the time, did not believe that Gnabry was equipped for the demands for regular Premier League football and explained why he wasn’t getting a look-in beyond September.
“Serge has come here to play games but he just hasn’t been for me, at the moment, at that level to play the games,” Pulis told the Express & Star newspaper back in October 2015.
“He’s come from academy football and not played much league football — does academy football really prepare players for league football? And we’re talking about Premier League football here.
“As a manager you pick a team that’s going to win a game of football. You pick your best team — you don’t leave people out because you don’t like them, because of this, that and the other.”
Gnabry’s loan spell was cut short in January 2016 but fast forward to Wednesday evening, and the 25-year-old has put his side in the Champions League final after a brace against Lyon.
Those comments from Pulis have really not aged well. Gnabry tore it up at Werder Bremen after joining in a £5 million move, scoring 11 in 27 games for the club in 2016/17 before Bayern snapped him up for a dirt cheap €8 million.
He continued his ascension on loan at Hoffenheim, where he scored 10 in 26, before establishing himself as one of Bayern’s key players under former manager Niko Kovac.
Hansi Flick has kept faith in Gnabry and he’s managed to net 23 goals in all competitions this season.
Wing wizards Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery departed last summer but with Gnabry as electric as ever and Leroy Sane’s arrival, Bayern’s next generation look ready to dominate.
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