Less sexy than Messi and less dramatic than Sanchez: the present references to Serge Gnabry remind us about Wenger’s commitment to give players a chance. There are different views among Arsenal followers about his track record… Some point to Cygan, Senderos, Denilson and Bendtner as examples of excess faith – Wenger , it is argued, gave poor players too much time and should have parted company with them earlier in their careers at AFC. Others point to Song, Coquelin and Flamini as evidence that Wenger is prepared to wait and see if there is scope for development. Some you win and some you lose.
As regards the failure, there is an argument that the longer list of failures – add Arshavin and Silvestre and Jeffries – occurred when Arsenal was a selling club, when Toure, Cesc, RVP, Nasri and Clichy (Adebayor “ugh” as well) were sold to make good the financial costs of the Emirates. Others will say that I am wrong and that I am looking for excuses and that Wenger is over-rated and the period of failure represents his shortcomings and not his proclaimed strengths. You pay your money. You make your choice.
As an undoubted Wenger fan I have to admit to some awkwardness on this topic – the list of failed players is quite long. Was his judgment at fault? Is he more fallible than I am prepared to accept? We all have to be honest and address weaknesses in what we believe. No heads in the sand!
So now to Gnabry who has had a bad time at WBA. Rather than accept that Gnabry may be another of the failed talents Wenger is prepared to give him a further chance and is arranging a loan move to Brighton. A couple of years ago with Theo and the Ox suffering injuries we saw quite a bit of Gnabry and to my untutored eye he looked exciting. I tweeted this morning about his pass to Cazorla in the 2-0 win against THFC at the Emirates. Cazorla took his goal well but the pass was perfect as Gnabry came inside and sent a diagonal pass to Cazorla. And Gnabry was buzzing in the no 7 position.
In life there are late developers in all walks of life. We see it all around us – in sportsman, children, business. People come to the fore in response to different pressures and challenges. Look how Ozil has changed and revealed a steely determination that we concluded was absent when he missed that penalty against Bayern. There is always risk in staying with young footballers. Some at a low ebb slip away and the book is closed. Others reach the bottom of the barrel and find they have resources to bounce back.
Maybe Gnabry will be one to bounce back. But the whole issue pinpoints the decisions that coaches have to make about quite young footballers who may be sidetracked by fame and money. Hasn’t Wilshere had to come through the same challenge? Food for thought as we track Gnabry’s progress at Brighton.