Serge Gnabry – The one that Arsenal let go!

Serge Gnabry – 24 | Right Wing | Bayern Munich

Alex Iwobi – 23 | Left Wing | Everton

Similarities:

Both wingersby trade, pacy, young, and good dribblers leaving Arsenal at a young age, with Serge Gnabry playing for Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich and the later signed for Everton as part of Deadline Day signing for a singificant amount of money, believed to be in range of 30 mill. €. plus add ons.

Arsenal Stats and West Brom:

Before discussing further, let’s find out Serge Gnabry stats while he was at Arsenal. Joining as a youth prospect from Stuttgart at the age of 16, Gnabry made all in all 10 senior appearance for Arsenal, with only 1 goal in return. He had a loan spell with West Brom cut short by injuries and the player was recalled by Arsenal midway through, where he was only used at Under-23 level and didn’t play for the first team again. Toni Pulis, the then West Brom manager quoted:

“Gnabry has come here to play games but, he just hasn’t been for me, at the moment, at that level to play the games”

Bundesliga days:

Gnabry was finally sold to Bundesliga side Werder Bremen for 5 mill € in 2016, and Arsene Wenger quoting just 10 days before the unveiling:

“I want to keep Serge Gnabry and extend his contract”

He went on to play for Germany in the 2016 Summer Olympics becoming the Top scorer with 6 goals in the process and winning the Silver Medal.

Catch me if you can:

Fast forward 3 years, Gnabry is on an upward exponential surge and playing for Bayern Munich as a regular in the front three and valued at 60 mill. €. by TransferMarkt and already has built a reputation of a goal scorer in club as well as country. He recently scored 4 times against Tottenham Hotspur and posted on his official Instagram account “North London is Red”. Ouch, that would have hurt!

Last night he scored one and assisted the other against Argentina as he became the fastest to reach 10 goals for Die Mannschaft breaking Miroslav Klose’s record. Gnabry is only 24, and has the world at his feet and will only grow from strength to strength.

Maybe, Arsenal should have been a bit more patient with Gnabry, but we can’t blame them as well here. He got his chances, and you can say he was somewhat unlucky with the injuries.

Iwobi dilemma:

Speaking about patience, Arsenal probably learned their lesson while dealing with another winger from the youth rank, who joined Arsenal at a tender age of 9, Alexander Iwobi from Nigeria. Known for his flamboyance and directness, much was expected from Iwobi during his time at Arsenal especially after Alexis Sanchez controversial departure to Manchester United, but Iwobi’s career never really took off.

Yes, he was a good dribbler, has some great skills under his hat, very industrious in tracking back and helping the defence but he predominantly played as a Left Winger during of his time at Arsenal and he didn’t score much. To give you some stat – In last three seasons, he played 87 times for Arsenal in the premier league, starting 72 times with meagre return of 9 goals and 14 assists.

You might argue, he is only 23 but look at other wingers of the same age in the PL, (Sterling, Sane etc) so it was evident Arsenal needed an upgrade, and that came in as the form of Nicolas Pepe, one of THE sought after player in the market. But, to be honest, I never imagined the upgrade we made came with the expense of selling Iwobi. He was a poor finisher no doubt, but he is only 23 and definitely if worked upon for one more year or two, he could have improved. Now that he is gone, we don’t have anybody significant yet to replace him. Yes, Arsenal have Nelson and Saka who can also play down the left and let’s not forget Aubameyang as well who will eventually play down the left hand side to accommodate Alexander Lacazette. But, we have taken a gamble, and maybe not at the right time. I will atleast console myself from the fact that we sold him for a significant amount of money believed to be in the range of 40 mill. €. to a really good club in the form of Everton, under a descent manger in Marco Silva. This is what the manager said in his press conference:

Alex is a quality player. We had our targets – and he was one of our main targets.

“He can play wide and behind the striker, he gives us different solutions. He is a strong player, a fast player, and he can provide good intensity.

Closing notes:

To conclude, Iwobi was sold at a wrong time but definitely at a right price and with Gnabry, do your own maths ! I would definitely back Iwobi to progress at Everton, where he would not be in that amount of pressure like he had during his Arsenal tenure, and to be honest, I am excited to see him link up with fellow new signing Moise Kean from Juventus. Iwobi is a good lad, but maybe not a first team material for a club as big as Arsenal, but Unai Emery as well as former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger rated him highly. This is what Unai Emery said on his departure:

“Alex has made a big contribution here at Arsenal.

He worked hard in the academy where he was an example to many young players and has been an important part of our squad.”

Iwobi is a true gunner, and this quote comes to my mind, “Once a Gunner, always a Gunner” and with Gnabry Arsenal can only sulk because he already has become a world beater! What a talent Arsenal let go!

Wishing Serge and Alex Iwobi all the best at Everton, it was a pleasure!

Image Courtesy – Instagram (Bayern Munich and Everton)

~ Shivashis Patri

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