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Serge Gnabry: What exactly did happen at West Brom?

Every time Germany play or Bayern Munich for that matter and Serge Gnabry does well - West Brom get will always get a mention.

Serge Gnabry after signing for Albion (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images).
Serge Gnabry after signing for Albion (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images).

The typical line for those on social media or commentators to wheel out, is how Tony Pulis deemed Gnabry not good enough during his time at West Brom, before he went on to have an exceptional career in Germany for both club and country.

When the Germans take on Costa Rica on Thursday evening in their final group game - you can bet that will be mentions of 'Gnabry, Pulis and that ill fated West Brom spell', if the winger turned striker does anything remotely good.

Apart from the obviously headlines of Gnabry being labelled not good enough at Albion - many people don't actually know what happened and what went wrong for the former Arsenal man during his short and ill fated spell at Albion.

Here is a look back on his time in the West Midlands and what the player himself has said about it:

It was summer 2015 when Gnabry arrived at The Hawthorns with Pulis bringing in a number of new faces to bolster his squad ahead of the new campaign.

The youngster had come from Arsenal, where he had spent the last two seasons following youth spells at a host of German clubs, the most notable being Stuttgart.

Gnabry wouldn't have to wait long for his debut - as he was introduced as a 78th minute substitute in a 3-2 home defeat to Chelsea.

After that, he wouldn't play again in the league for Albion.

He started just two games in the League Cup, a 0-0 draw at Port Vale where he failed to impressed and he was taken off just after the hour as Albion lost at Norwich in the cup, in what would be his final appearance for the club.

By January, he had been recalled to Arsenal, after Pulis said he was 'not at the required level' to play for West Brom.

He would return to Arsenal and then signed for Werder Bremen the following summer for £5 million - and his career then really took off.

But what exactly did happen at West Brom?

Gnabry himself addressed the issue an in interview back in 2020 - where he took against Pulis' comments but admitted he wasn't a perfect player at 19.

He said: "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?”

“I got a 15-minute run at the end of the Chelsea match, and then I wasn’t in the squad after that. 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.”

Gnabry left Albion, went to Germany and his career went from strength to strength and at one point was one of the most in form strikers in Europe.

It just never worked at West Brom, we'll never get the full reasons why but it just didn't. It didn't really work for him at Arsenal either as he made just 18 appearances, however, we don't hear commentators saying Arsene Wenger got it wrong and got rid of Gnabry.

His loan spell at Albion may have been short and may have been seven years ago - but you can bet that won't stop it being brought up between now and the end of the World Cup if the West Brom flop pulls out something special.

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