Forgotten Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry made his first appearance of the season for his parent club on 14 March. The German youth international featured for the full 90 minutes of an U21 Premier League visit to Aston Villa, but could not prevent Steve Gatting's FA Youth Cup semi-finalists from falling to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of Jerell Sellars' second-half goal. Donyell Malen struck a post late on for the visitors.
Such an outing at Villa Park came months after Gnabry saw his hopes of playing regular senior top-flight football dashed. The 20-year-old, who originally joined the Gunners from Stuttgart five years ago, became West Brom's fourth summer signing when he joined on a season-long loan back in August 2015.
He failed to impress at The Hawthorns, starting just two Capital One Cup ties against Port Vale and Norwich City respectively. His solitary league appearance came in a 13-minute substitute cameo in a 3-2 home defeat by Chelsea, with manager Tony Pulis later stating that the player simply was not at the level required to feature frequently.
"Serge has come here to play games but he just hasn't been for me, at the moment, at that level to play the games," he said prior to the meeting with leaders Leicester City in October. "He's come from academy football and not played much league football.
"Does academy football really prepare players for league football? And we're talking about Premier League football here. As a manager you pick a team that's going to win a game of football. You pick your best team, you don't leave people out because you don't like them, because of this, that and the other."
Gnabry's miserable spell at West Brom was eventually ended during the January transfer window when he was recalled by Arsenal. Rumours of a more beneficial loan switch to the second tier were rife, with Arsene Wenger confidently stating that "Serge will go to the Championship" in order to potentially follow in the footsteps of teammate Francis Coquelin.
Coquelin thrived after returning from a short five-game stint with Charlton Athletic last term, establishing himself as a regular fixture in central midfield. Gnabry was also linked with a temporary move to The Valley, while promotion contenders Brighton were widely considered as favourites to secure his signature.
Such a move never came to pass, however, and he was left to work on his fitness before an eventual return to U21 football. A Football League loan remains a possibility as the emergency loan window is not due to close until 24 March, although any deal would be limited to between 28 and 93 days.