Arsene Wenger has claimed he knew Serge Gnabry would go on to become one of the world’s best players and admits he was ‘sad’ at how the German left Arsenal.
Wenger brought Gnabry to north London from German side Stuttgart when he was a teenager back in 2011.
But Gnabry made just 11 Premier League appearances for the Gunners and was shipped out on loan to West Brom in the summer of 2015.
His spell at The Hawthorns was just as bad though, with former Baggies boss Tony Pulis saying Gnabry was not good enough to make his first-team squad.
Gnabry returned to Arsenal in January 2016 when his loan was cut short but then decided not to stay at the club and instead joined Werder Bremen. From there he moved to Bayern in 2017 and is now one of the most in-form wingers in the world.
Speaking on beIN SPORTS on Wednesday night, Wenger admitted his frustration that he couldn’t get Gnabry to stay and reiterated previous claims Bayern ‘manipulated’ things behind the scenes and hinted that they would eventually come and get him if he went to Werder Bremen.
He said: ‘I bought him at the age of 15 from Stuttgart and he was injured a lot.
‘We had an agreement with him you know. I had given him out on loan to West Brom and he didn’t play a game. He came back, he was injured.
‘We worked very hard with him for six months and he went out with the German national team, Under-21s, and Bayern made a deal with Werder Bremen.
“I knew that he would turn out great”
Arsene Wenger looks back on Serge Gnabry’s time at @Arsenal.
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‘He wanted to sign in the end, didn’t want to extend his contract (with Arsenal) and I was very sad.
‘But we couldn’t get over the line with him because I knew he would have a great career.’
Gnabry’s first-half double against Lyon on Wednesday night gave the Bundesliga side a comfortable lead before Robert Lewandowksi scored his 55th goal of the season to secure safe passage to the final.
They will take on Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday night, hoping to win the club’s first Champions League crown since 2013.
It continued a remarkable season for the winger, who has scored 23 goals and provided 14 assists so far this term.
He has also scored nine goals in nine Champions League games, including four against Tottenham back in October and a brace against Chelsea in the last-16.