Serge Gnabry still confused by West Brom loan fail
He’s now a Bundesliga superstar and an integral part of the German national team.
So why did Serge Gnabry fail to make an impact during his loan spell with Albion back in 2015?
The truth is even the man himself is still unsure why he failed to win a regular spot in Tony Pulis’s side.
This is a player who has scored 11 goals and registered nine assists in 24 outings for Bayern Munich this season – a forward who has netted 13 goals in 13 appearances for Germany.
Gnabry had just battled his way back from a serious knee injury when he was loaned to the Baggies by Arsenal.
But having proved his fitness, he says he is still ‘confused’ as to why Pulis didn’t give him a run in the side.
“You know what’s funny? For everything that’s been written in the papers about my time at West Brom, and what the manager thought of me and everything, I think I’m still just confused,” Gnarby said.
“When I got there, I was really positive about everything.
“The reason I chose West Brom over some other clubs is because of how much the manager seemed to want me there. Obviously, I wasn’t 100 per cent fit.
“I was coming off such a long recovery.
“And obviously, I’m a certain kind of attacking player, and West Brom wanted to play a different way. But then, why did you bring me there?”
Gnabry only made one brief substitute appearance in the Premier League under Pulis along with two starts in the Carabao Cup.
“I got a 15-minute run at the end of the Chelsea match, and then I wasn’t in the squad after that,” he continued. “I sat in the stands for six months, doubting myself, and I never got an explanation why.
“I wasn’t a perfect player. I was 19 years old. I was probably making mistakes in training.
“But, genuinely — and I am being 100 per cent honest — I was giving everything I could. I can look at myself in the mirror today and say that.
“Then, of course, I started reading I’m lazy, and I’m out of fitness, and I don’t have the level. It was so frustrating.
“To be labelled lazy it unlocked an emotion that I never really had when I was growing up. Anger.”
The following season Gnabry was loaned by Arsenal to Werder Bremen where he scored 11 goals in 27 appearances.
He was then bought by Bayern Munich before they loaned him out to Hoffenheim. Again he impressed scoring 10 goals in 23 games – with those loans in Germany giving him the platform to go back to Bayern and earn a regular starting spot.
“For me, I had to take that step back to be able to take a step forward,” Gnabry added.
“Coming back to Germany to play for Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim was life-changing for me — as a person more than as a footballer.
“To come home after leaving all my friends at 16, and to be at clubs that actually wanted me, it was incredible.”