A few almost dishonorable things circulated about Serge Gnabry at the beginning of this week. The “Kicker” reported that the offensive player from FC Bayern Munich had an offer from his previous employer; that, despite an annual fee of 19 million euros, he has not yet been able to bring himself to accept this offer.
It’s probably a good thing to counteract such reports – no matter how serious they may be – with other, friendlier images.
On Wednesday, after training, the German national soccer players sat in a darkened room to follow a panel discussion on the conditions in the World Cup host country Qatar. Just before it started, Gnabry disappeared backstage and returned with a number of water bottles, which he distributed to his colleagues. The whole procedure was repeated twice before the Munich player sat down.
Serge Gnabry as a water carrier? That certainly doesn’t apply to his situation with the German national team. Since his debut in November 2016, Gnabry has been held in high esteem by his superiors. That was the case with Joachim Löw. And that’s no different with Hansi Flick, his successor as national coach.
At home, with Bayern, that may not be the case. The 26-year-old does not belong to the top hierarchy level in Munich, and that would probably not change even if his contract were extended.
“It’s not like the media often claim that each of us thinks about money,” says Gnabry when asked about the topic of appreciation. “In the employment relationship there are also many other things that play a major role.” But the salary at least provides certain information. It is said that football professionals are at least roughly informed about the salary structure within their team and that they can also read their own position in the team from the salary table.
There are currently many rumors about Serge Gnabry, about his professional future at Bayern or elsewhere, and of course he is asked about it when he was with the national team, two days before the Nations League game against European champions Italy on Saturday (8:45 p.m., live on RTL), in Herzogenaurach for the press conference. “I don’t want to comment on my own contract situation here,” he replies. “Please don’t ask any more questions.”
He doesn’t even comment on Sadio Mané, Bayern’s potential arrival. The signing of the Senegalese, who is currently under contract with Champions League finalists FC Liverpool, could ultimately have a serious impact on his standing in the team – and a comment on this personality would at least indirectly provide information about his own plans.
With Robert Lewandowski, who absolutely wants to leave, and Serge Gnabry, from whom one does not know exactly what he actually wants, Bayern are threatened with the loss of the two top scorers of the season that has just ended. Both are under contract in Munich for only one year.
But while the record champions definitely want to keep the Poles at the risk of losing him for free in the summer of 2023, things may look different with the German national player Gnabry. There is currently speculation about a move to Real Madrid and a fee of 40 million euros.
Gnabry found the season with Bayern “a bit unsatisfactory”, which is mainly due to the early end in the Champions League. His own performance, on the other hand, was quite appealing. With 14 goals, alongside Lewandowski, he was the only Bayern Munich player to score in double figures in the Bundesliga. “He’s a very important building block in our team,” says Leon Goretzka about his colleague from the club and the national team.
Since returning to the Bundesliga from England in 2016, Gnabry, who was born in Stuttgart, has scored in double digits in every season – for Werder Bremen, for TSG Hoffenheim and, now four years later, for FC Bayern. In the national team he scored 20 goals in 31 international matches. No other player on the German team can boast such good odds.
Gnabry’s advantage is that he can be used in different positions on the offensive, not only on the offensive wing, but also as a hidden centre-forward. “I think I’ve done a pretty good job there and have a decent quota,” he says of his appearances in the center of the attack. Unfortunately, Bayern don’t need a center forward. You have Robert Lewandowski.