With five promotions and five relegations under their belt since the turn of the millennium, West Bromwich Albion are notorious for being a yo-yo club.
The Baggies – like Norwich and several other clubs – are normally too good for the Championship but struggle to stay up in the Premier League.
Under the stewardship of current manager, Carlos Corberan, their aim is to earn promotion back to the top flight and remain there, although that is proving to be a tricky task.
Given the strength of teams coming down from the Premier League, as demonstrated by quality littered throughout the squads of Leicester City, Southampton and Leeds United, it looks as though Corberan’s men will have to settle for a play-off push.
West Brom are currently level on points with sixth-place Sunderland, however, if they do return to the big time, they’ll have to use the loan market to their advantage, having done so previously with the captures of Romelu Lukaku in 2012 and Serge Gnabry in 2015.
Although Lukaku was a resounding success, scoring 17 goals in 35 appearances, Gnabry’s spell at the Hawthorns spiralled into a nightmare.
Serge Gnabry’s statistics at West Brom
During his time at Arsenal as a youngster, Gnabry battled back from a serious knee injury and was sent out on loan to West Brom in 2015 for the benefit of his development.
Whilst that was the plan, it wasn’t executed how the Gunners would have envisaged and he was recalled by the north London giants in January after playing just 12 minutes of Premier League football.
When asked about why Gnabry had struggled, West Brom’s manager at the time, Tony Pulis said in October 2015: “Serge has come here to play games but he just hasn’t been for me, at the moment, at that level to play the games.”
The talented youngster left Arsenal to join Werder Bremen for £8m in 2016 after making 18 appearances and scoring once, however, he would soon leave his former employers in a state of shock about his transformation since arriving in the Bundesliga.
What Serge Gnabry has done since leaving West Brom
From showcasing the early signs of his potential at Werder and Hoffenheim to becoming a superstar at Bayern Munich, Pulis has since been left flummoxed about how special he’s become since that disastrous spell under his management.
Speaking to Sky Sports in 2019, after Gnabry scored four goals in Bayern Munich’s 7-2 victory over Tottenham in the Champions League, he said: “Well, I’m amazed.
“We had him at West Brom, we took him on loan and we could never get him fit. I think he even got taken off in an Under-21 game.
“He went back to Arsenal, they sold him on.”
Since arriving at Bayern in 2017, the 28-year-old has reached the ceiling of his potential, becoming a crucial cog in their glittering spell at the top of European football, winning five Bundesliga titles, a Champions League in 2020 and four German Super Cups.
Dubbed “world-class” by Rio Ferdinand as a result of his sensational displays in their 2020 Champions League triumph having amassed an eye-watering nine goals in ten matches, Gnabry’s consistent hot streak in front of goal throughout his career has propelled him to the summit of European football.
Serge Gnabry’s record at Bayern Munich
Goals / Assists
2023/24 (11 appearances)
2022/23 (47 appearances)
17 goals / 12 assists
2021/22 (45 appearances)
17 goals / 9 assists
2020/21 (38 appearances)
11 goals / 7 assists
2019/20 (46 appearances)
23 goals / 14 assists
2018/19 (42 appearances)
13 goals / 9 assists
82 goals / 51 assists
All stats via Transfermarkt
If you disregard his current season, which has seen him struggle in front of goal, the German international has reached double figures in every single campaign for the club and only dropped below the 17-goal mark on two occasions.
A supremely relentless finisher, who also boasts an impressive 22 goals in 44 appearances for Germany, the fleet-footed forward has used his shortcomings in England as fuel to unearth his exceptional talents elsewhere and is now worth €55m (£48m), as per Transfermarkt.
If only Pulis realised his potential at West Brom instead of throwing him into the abyss…