By Matt Farr
Former Arsenal midfielder Serge Gnabry has revealed that the north London club were desperate to retain his services last summer.
The 21-year-old was sold to German outfit Werder Bremen for £5million, having failed to establish himself in the first-team squad at the Emirates.
However, Gnabry has already bagged five league goals for his new club from just 11 appearances in a storming start to his Bundesliga career.
He also netted a superb hat-trick on his full international debut for Germany versus San Marino in November.
His scintillating form has caused outrage among Arsenal fans on social media, who believe that, while the reasons for letting him leave were apparent, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger should never have let Gnabry go for such a small fee.
Gnabry told Kicker: “It was the right decision [to leave Arsenal]. Everybody who compares my development over the last four months to my time in England before that can’t come to a different conclusion.
“That was the main reason for my transfer – I wanted to get more playing time and it worked. Arsenal wanted to keep me, badly. But I had to look after my development.”
Gnabry joined Arsenal from Stuttgart in 2010 when he was just 16-years-old. He made his Premier League debut two years later against Norwich, becoming the club’s second-youngest player in the division, behind only Jack Wilshere. He also made his Champions League debut later that month.
Yet despite a promising start to his career, the midfielder only managed to make 18 senior appearances.
Nine of those came in the 2013-14 Premier League season, but Wenger eventually preferred the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alex Iwobi in the position.
Gnabry spent his final campaign as an Arsenal player on loan at West Brom, but once again failed to break into the team, making just three appearances in all competitions.
In other Arsenal news, the Gunners beat Bournemouth 3-1 at the weekend, but how did the players rate on the pitch?