Arsene Wenger has confirmed that it was not the wish of Arsenal to allow Serge Gnabry to leave the club this summer, but the decision of the player to move back to his homeland. The Germany U23 international left the Gunners on a permanent basis this summer and joined Bundesliga outfit Werder Bremen for a fee reported to be around £5m ($6.4m).
The 21-year-old attacker joined Arsenal in 2011 from Bundesliga side Stuttgart and made his debut for the club during the 2012/13 season when he came on as a second-half substitute during the north London club's 6-1 win over Coventry City in the League Cup. He made 14 appearances the following season in all competitions for the first-team, but struggled with injuries in the last two campaigns.
The German winger went on loan to West Bromwich Albion at the start of last season, but returned midway owing to lack of game time and despite being with the first-team squad in the second-half of the campaign, he failed to make a single appearance for the Gunners.
Gnabry travelled with the Germany U23 team for this summer's Olympic Games and played a key role in helping his nation secure the silver medal. He was also named Germany's player of the tournament. Wenger made it clear that the club were keen to tie down the attacker, who was in the final year of his contract, to a new deal and revealed that the club were close to agreeing an extension before the player changed his mind and accepted a move to Bremen.
"We didn't want to get rid of Gnabry, we wanted to keep him," Wenger told BT Sport in a Facebook Live session ahead of the Gunners' clash against Chelsea.
"But he was in the last year of his contract. We were close to extending his contract but finally he changed his mind and went to Werder Bremen.
"But I think we taught him a lot and I think if you ask him he would agree with that," he added.