Recent reports have seen Arsenal heavily linked with re-signing Germany international Serge Gnabry from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, the 26-year-old having initially joined the Gunners’ youth ranks in 2011, before departing five years later after failing to establish himself in the first team at the Emirates.
With just ten Premier League appearances for the north Londoners under his belt, the Stuttgart born gem joined Werder Bremen on a permanent deal in 2016 after a disappointing season-long loan stint at West Bromwich Albion.
The 31-cap speedster was famously deemed not good enough for the Baggies by then-boss Tony Pulis during his dismal period at the Hawthorns, although has since made that assumption look truly ridiculous, having gone on to win a plethora of major honours at the Allianz Arena.
Having joined his current side in 2017 – initially spending the first campaign on loan at Hoffenheim – Gnabry has gone on to score 64 goals and register 40 assists in 174 appearances in all competitions, notably winning four successive league titles as well as the Champions League in 2020.
Once moved on by Arsene Wenger for just £7m, the latest indication is that the £115k-per-week menace could now cost as much as £34m, with that figure having only been reduced due to his contract expiring next summer.
There is, as expected, a great deal of excitement regarding a potential return to English football, although one club that will no doubt be fearing the worst is rivals Tottenham Hotspur, with the Lilywhites having been on the wrong end of a Gnabry masterclass a few years ago.
Then Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino saw his side completely dismantled by Hansi Flick’s rampant Bayern outfit in a brutal Champions League group stage mauling back in October 2019, with the hosts suffering the further ignominy of being torn apart by the aforementioned former Gunners gem.
In a scintillating showing at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Gnabry hit four in a remarkable 7-2 victory for the eventual tournament winners, with the result seemingly contributing to Pochettino’s sacking just a month or so later.
The encounter had been relatively even heading in at the interval as the visitors led 2-1, before a blistering second period saw Flick’s men surge to victory in ruthless fashion, with the former Arsenal man becoming the first player to hit four second-half goals in a Champions League game.
His first illustrated his lightning speed as he tore past a lunging Davinson Sanchez before cutting onto his right foot to unleash a remarkable precise finish past Hugo Lloris, before bettering the Frenchman again with a composed finish off the post with his weaker left foot.
The £63m-rated man then put the game out of sight late on with another quick-fire double, wrapping up his hat-trick after racing clear to again slide the ball past a helpless Lloris, before completing his haul with a divine strike across goal that gave little chance to the flailing ‘keeper.
In truth, his greatest impact for Arsenal did in fact come in the red of Bayern, as the Gunners supporters revelled in that display, before he again punished a London outfit by netting twice against Chelsea in the last-16 a few months later.
Not living on past success, however, he has again impressed in the most recent campaign, netting 17 goals and ten assists in all competitions for the German champions, while he also compares remarkably well to those in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, ranking highly in a string of attacking metrics as per FBref.
Once described as “magic” by Transfermakrt’s Stefan Bienkowski, the lethal forward has that rare quality to make an impact at the highest level on a consistent basis, with his arrival only set to bolster Arteta’s hopes of returning to Europe’s premier competition.
If not to aid them in getting back into the top four, Arsenal simply must sign Gnabry so that he can torment their north London rivals once again.