Arsenal’s Serge Gnabry is understood to have rejected a loan move to Crystal Palace, as he bids to compete for a first-team place under Arsene Wenger in pre-season.
Signing a new five-year deal at the Emirates last October, Gnabry made 14 appearances for Arsenal last season, having established himself as one of the club’s brightest prospects.
However, with the £35 million signing of Alexis Sanchez, and Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returning to fitness, it had been assumed that the winger would be farmed out to another side for the 2013-14 campaign, in order to see vital first-team experience.
After being linked with the likes of Sunderland, Newcastle United, Southampton and Borussia Dortmund this summer, Gnabry could still yet be playing his football elsewhere in 2014-15, and fighting for a spot in the Arsenal side seems a tall order at this point, making his reported decision to spurn Palace a puzzling one.
The German under-19 international is an exciting talent, no doubt, but, with competition fierce for places in a squad which also boasts Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and now Joel Campbell, minutes will be tough to find this season.
With known Premier League interest, Gnabry would certainly be well-advised to explore other opportunities ahead of the new campaign, and a destination like Southampton or Sunderland would be both practical and potentially rewarding, seeing him gain valuable top-flight experience to help his prospects with the Gunners.