Bayern Munich star Serge Gnabry has opened up on his first impression of legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, revealing he was gobsmacked that the iconic boss even knew his name.
The Germany international left Stuttgart to officially join the north London side in 2011, mainly featuring for the youth sides before making his debut for the first team during the 2012/13 season.
Speaking about his first encounter with Wenger, Gnabry recalled he was quiet during the meeting and couldn’t stop smiling.
He told the Players’ Tribune: “I walked into his office with my mum and dad, and Arsène said something simple like, ‘Welcome, Serge, how are you?’ And I remember I literally couldn’t stop smiling. You know when you’re in your head like, ‘Mate, stop smiling. Please stop smiling, this is getting embarrassing’.
“But I just couldn’t. My knees were light, as we say. I probably didn’t say more than ten words the whole meeting. I was just thinking, ‘Oh God, Arsène Wenger really knows my name’.
“For some reason, him saying it out loud was like, ‘Whoa. This is real’.”
Gnabry left Arsenal for a loan spell with West Brom before he departed permanently, returning to the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen.
A successful 2016/17 season, during which he scored 11 Bundesliga goals, saw Bayern Munich come calling, the Bavarian giants snapping him up for €8m.
The winger was again loaned out, this time to Hoffenheim where he again thrived, before spending the 2018/19 campaign in Bayern’s first team squad.
Gnabry has asserted himself in the Bundesliga champions’ starting XI this season following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, putting in star performances up front alongside Robert Lewandowski.
He notably scored four goals in the 7-2 Champions League rout at Tottenham back in October, with Bayern well placed in both Europe’s elite club competition and the Bundesliga.