Arsenal are flourishing at present. They are five points clear at the top of the Premier League table heading into Christmas and boast a young, hungry squad led by a young, hungry manager.
Mikel Arteta, since assuming the role of head coach at the Emirates Stadium in 2019, has been a revelation, winning the FA Cup in his first season in charge and has since made incremental gains that have resulted in a cohesive and flowing outfit that are capable of challenging on all fronts.
However, technical director Edu, alongside the Gunners hierarchy, has discerned an area that needs immediate attention if the club is to avoid a slide from form across the second half of the campaign.
Indeed, with confidence growing that an unlikely Premier League triumph can be achieved, Arsenal feel a winger is absolutely paramount in ensuring the structure doesn’t topple.
Names such as Mykhaylo Mudryk, Cody Gakpo and Facundo Torres have floated around the rumour mill, but there is one such player that could’ve been the piece of the jigsaw to complete the puzzle, had he not departed several years ago.
This is Serge Gnabry, who departed north London for his homeland of Germany in 2016, signing for Werder Bremen for just £4.5m, having failed to crack the ice and earn a regular starting spot with the club he commenced his professional career with.
Arsenal might just be kicking themselves for such a mistake, with the German international since signing for Bayern Munich and winning a plethora of major trophies, including the 2019/20 Champions League.
This season alone, the 27-year-old has recorded ten goals and assists apiece in just 23 appearances for Bayern this season, including a hat-trick of assists in a 3-0 victory over FC Barcelona at Camp Nou.
In fact, the versatile forward boasts an incredible 74 goals and 49 assists in 194 appearances for The Bavarians; one can only imagine the destructive impact the player could have at present in Arsenal’s thriving team.
Granted, it took stints at Bremen and TSG Hoffenheim for Gnabry to find his feet and truly flourish at the top of the professional game, but the Gunners might’ve been wise to put more emphasis on loan spells for the player, with that approach bearing fruit for the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson.
The £265k-per-week phenom – who was lauded as a “real weapon” by his former manager Niko Kovac to Bundesliga.com – offers some truly scintillating metrics this season, ranking in the top 4% for non-penalty goals compared to positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues, and the top 5% for progressive passes recorded, as per FBref.
This is a player looking to provide both direct firepower and auxiliary support for his team; a robust and tenacious figure that provides energy and dynamism to aplomb.
He is exactly what Arsenal need as the Premier League club scours the market for a top-class winger, and there will be some still berating the decision to part with a player that fits that bill.