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Serge Gnabry reveals just how much Arsenal wanted him to stay

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In an interview with Kicker, the former Arsenal academy star speaks about his transfer to Werder Bremen.

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Having only made 18 first-team appearances over three seasons at Arsenal - including a miserable loan spell at Tony Pulis' West Brom - Serge Gnabry left for Bundesliga club Werder Bremen this past summer and, from the sound of things, hasn't spent a single minute regretting the decision:

'​It was the right decision,' Gnabry told Kicker.

'Everybody who compares my development over the last four months to my time in England before that can't come to a different conclusion.

'That was the main reason for the transfer - I wanted to get more playing time and it worked.​ Arsenal wanted to keep me, badly, but I had to look after my development.

'If a player does not perform well, a club has no sympathy and they do not want to keep him.'

Here's the deal: nothing Gnabry said above is wrong. When he fully regained his health last fall he was summarily sent out on loan to West Brom, which if we're comparing it's the soccer equivalent of having nails driven into fingernail folds. Pulis was gifted a very talented player and made the absolute worst of the situation, with Arsene Wenger calling timeout on his loan prematurely in order to save Gnabry's career development; the winger only made one league appearance over a four-month time frame while at The Hawthorns.

The loan itself told the bigger story. At the time, in Wenger's eyes, there wasn't a place for Gnabry in Arsenal's squad. Right or wrong Gnabry was right to think his progress at Arsenal wasn't going to move forward at the pace for the talent he possesses, that he would have to endure the potential of additional loan spells and time on the bench if he were to stay at the club.

It sucks to lose a guy of his caliber for next-to-nothing, and it burns even more to watch him, predictably, thrive when given the opportunities. His comments above weren't a slam against Arsenal, but it's not necessarily comforting to hear players in his situation say the things he did. Let's just hope he doesn't end up at a bigger club and producing at a level that makes his transfer away from Arsenal look like the time a certain Frenchman left for nearly nothing to Juventus.