Gnabry, The Boy Who Became A Man (And Destroyed Tottenham In The Process)
Seven-Two. What a match! A day everyone will remember... Unless you're a Tottenham fan who wants to forget a horrible nightmare.
As the ball hit the Tottenham Hotspur net for the seventh time on Tuesday evening, a deathly silence rang around the stadium. A former Arsenal man had tucked away his 4th goal of the game against his biggest rivals, and fans from the Red side were up and down the country revelling in Spurs' misery. Unfortunately, their joy was bittersweet and filled with regrets, as they saw what could have been a real superstar for them stick it to their rivals.
This is the reality now: Serge Gnabry has become an international superstar, and at 24 years old, he's playing the best football of his career. Yet, the Germany international's road to glory was a hard path full of doubters and setbacks. Where should I begin?
Gnabry joined Arsenal's academy in 2011, and word of a real gem in the ranks spread around the Gunners faithful. Expectations were high for the young German forward, who showed great confidence on the ball, an ability to shoot with both feet and a love of twisting full-backs into knots. On paper, Gnabry was a complete monster; a young player every team would love to have.
Still, during his progression at the Emirates, the youngster's finishing left a lot to be desired at times, but Gnabry was raw, and his skill and footballing brain were there for all to see. It wasn't long before the winger was thrust into the senior side, as the number 44 grabbed his first Arsenal goal at the start of the 2013/14 season. The first of many, north London hoped.
Sadly, Gnabry's career stuttered to a worrying standstill following his excellent first handful of senior appearances, as the starlet went from being nominated for the 2013 Golden Boy award to suffering a serious knee injury that kept him out of action for the entire 2014/15 campaign. That's where everything seemed over for our dear German striker. No; not yet.
He joined West Brom, under the management of Tony Pulis, who couldn't make the best of the German (He's probably regretting it right now), and quickly, in January 2016, Gnabry was recalled from his loan spell at West Brom. We could have said that was the end of a promising star on the rise, am I right?
The tricky winger clearly felt he was good enough to mix it with the best in London, and moved to Werder Bremen in search of first-team football. It was finally there where the German star found his feet, and his raw abilities were nurtured, converting the unpredictable winger into a predatory finisher. Nothing better than being at home.
Gnabry's new-found killer instinct earned him 11 league goals in his first season in Germany, and more tellingly, a move to giants Bayern Munich. At that time, the 22-year-old was then loaned out to Hoffenheim, where he scored another 10 goals and helped his side to achieve a surprise third-place finish in the Bundesliga. A complete turn-around!
If Gnabry's development in England was poor and faltering, his growth in Germany was outstanding; meteoric.
Now, the boy who was rejected by both Arsenal and West Brom respectively has found his way, and Gnabry is finally showing the true potential that Arsene Wenger saw within him, tearing apart arch-rivals Spurs in the Champions League with Bayern (Arsenal fan: Why did we got rid of Arsene?). A boy once bereft of confidence at West Brom was now scoring 45-yard screamers for Hoffenheim, and his performances convinced Bayern to retain his services for the 2018/19 season. A stellar year in Munich saw Gnabry finish as the club's 2nd-highest scorer as 'Der FCB' beating rivals Borussia Dortmund to the league title, and the former Arsenal man became an integral part of the German Champions' plans.
However, Gnabry's form has not only been reserved for his domestic duties either. Joachim Low sees the Bayern star as the future of Germany's front-line, and his faith has been repaid with 9 goals in 10 international appearances. The former Arsenal man's career came full circle on Tuesday evening (2nd October), returning to North London to silence his critics in England, stick the knife in his bitter enemies, and return to Germany as a hero. WOW! WHAT A SAVAGE!
In the end, Gnabry's career is a feel-good story of a boy doubted by many, who left the limelight to work on his game and prove everybody wrong, and when his time came, proved his true worth; becoming a German superstar. Clearly, this is a heart-warming tale...
Unless you're an Arsenal or Spurs fan.