Arsene Wenger says he was “very sad” when Serge Gnabry refused a contract extension at Arsenal back in 2016.
The Germany international left the Emirates Stadium for Werder Bremen that year on a free transfer before making a reported €8m move to Bayern Munich only a year later.
Following a loan move to Hoffenheim, Gnabry has now established himself as a key player for Bayern – who reached the Champions League final on Wednesday night – and the German national team.
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“Let’s not forget Gnabry, I bought him at the age of 15 from Stuttgart and he was injured a lot,” former Arsenal boss Wenger told beIN SPORTS.
“He’s creative, he can score goals, right-footed, left-footed, good power, good penetration, very, very clever with the timing of his runs. His tendency was a bit too easy, like I told you about with young, talented players.
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“But he has matured a lot and he is one of the dominant players now in Germany.
“No, no [I didn’t want to let him go]. We had an agreement with him. I had given him out on loan to West Brom and he didn’t play a game, came back, he was injured.
“We worked with him very hard for six months and he went out with the German national team under-21s. Bayern made a deal with Bremen and in the end he didn’t want to extend the contract [at Arsenal].
“I was very sad that we couldn’t get over the line with him because I knew that he would have a great future. He can play No 10, he can be a No 9, he is a very intelligent player.”