Werder Bremen forward Serge Gnabry, who spent five years at Arsenal before returning to January last August, is reportedly set for another move.
This time, it’s one with something significantly bigger planned in the future. According to reports in German newspaper BILD, the 21-year-old has what is being described as a “principal agreement” with Julian Nagelsmann’s Hoffenheim side – who have exceeded expectations and secured a UEFA Champions League place ahead of next season too.
The reported fee for his services is €10m, harmless right? Well, that’s where things get messy. His contract with the club will include a release clause, which can then be triggered by Bayern Munich – and only the Bundesliga champions – next summer.
It was a surprise to see the talented youngster leave last summer but as Lee mentioned at the time, a big factor behind why the move accelerated as quickly as it did could have been the lure of Bayern being potentially interested in him as a long-term acquisition.
The ability to give money to another side, let them keep hold of a player until they were content and wanted to buy, is obviously illegal. So when suggestions were made, Werder vehemently denied them.
But with the summer transfer window fast approaching, Gnabry’s future is in doubt once more and he’d naturally want to be playing with better team-mates than those at Bremen, with all due respect. They’re currently 15 points off the top four with a league match remaining and without Gnabry’s presence in the final third, that figure would be even greater.
So this begs the question. If Arsenal were so keen to keep hold of Gnabry, why didn’t they sign an agreement to have first refusal on him? If true, Bayern’s involvement in this deal simply isn’t right but it seems as though they continue to strip rivals of their best players on a yearly basis.