When it was initially announced that Serge Gnabry was joining West Bromwich Albion on loan it appeared to be a positive situation for all parties.
The German winger had endured a particularly frustrating 2014/15 campaign, during which he struggled to regain full fitness after returning from injury. His temporary switch to The Hawthorns was seen as an opportunity for the starlet to gain some valuable playing time at Premier League level.
Except it didn’t quite work out like that. Arsenal are currently in negotiations about the possibility of ending Gnabry’s loan agreement early so that he can escape from a nightmare scenario that has seen him restricted to just 12 minutes of Premier League football this season (via Mirror).
How did it end up like this, and does Gnabry still have a chance of salvaging his Arsenal career?
The initial signs seemed promising for Gnabry at West Brom. He was introduced as a substitute at home to Chelsea and performed a neat piece of skill in an encouraging cameo. Little did he know, that would be the sum total of his top flight action for the Baggies in the first half of the campaign.
Although he featured in the Capital One Cup, matters got so bad for Gnabry that he even turned out for West Brom at U21 level.
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It is difficult to determine who the guilty party is in this instance, but it seems certain that West Brom manager Tony Pulis didn’t trust Gnabry enough to call upon the German in Premier League games.
Perhaps Gnabry wasn’t at his sharpest, but, even though he can be rather unpredictable at times, the 20-year-old is still capable of producing moments of brilliance. He has also demonstrated during the 2013/14 season, that he possesses the attributes required to cope with the physical nature of the Premier League.
Now the hope is that Gnabry can end his loan spell and get away from West Brom as quickly as possible.
Another loan stint, perhaps even in the Championship could work wonders for him and at the moment Gnabry is simply in need of games, at whatever level, having been deprived of regular first-team football for so long.
His chance of making the grade at Arsenal, which seemed almost an inevitability just a couple of years ago, can’t be deemed to have vanished.
However, it is now up to Gnabry to prove that he is capable of bouncing back from this difficult situation as he seeks to get his career back on track.
The manner in which Gnabry quickly progressed for Arsenal’s youth sides outlined his talent, but the past 18 months have essentially been a write off for the prospect. Now it is time for him to make the most of every opportunity he is afforded and prove to Arsene Wenger that he is a player that is worth persisting with.