Werder Bremen's Serge Gnabry: I nearly rejected Germany chance
Werder Bremen winger Serge Gnabry says he nearly turned down his Germany call-up for the 2016 Olympics.
Gnabry, 21, ended up as the top scorer at the Olympics over the summer as Germany won the silver medal in Rio de Janeiro.
His form led to a move from Arsenal to Werder Bremen and last week he made his senior international debut in the 8-0 win over San Marino, becoming the first German to score a hat trick in his first appearance for the country since Dieter Muller against Yugoslavia in 1976.
But things for Gnabry could have ended up differently, with the winger telling Sport Bild: "I actually wanted to play at Arsenal and considered not going to Rio at all. But at the end of the day, it was a spot-on decision.
"It changed my standing, I found a new club. I am delighted about the path I made, and will follow on it now."
Gnabry's performances for club and country have already seen him linked with a move away from Bremen in January.
Although Bremen have denied several times that they have no arrangement with Bayern Munich over a possible transfer for Gnabry to the Allianz Arena, kicker has maintained that an agreement between the clubs exists.
When asked about the rumours by Sport Bild, Gnabry said: "I signed for Bremen. Period."
Former Germany and Bayern captain Lothar Matthaus has named Gnabry as the perfect successor to Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben at the Allianz Arena.
"Ribery and Robben have had incredible careers," Gnabry said. "They are role models for me. If Lothar Matthaus sees those abilities in me, I am delighted. But I also know that I am only at the beginning."
Gnabry says he is also inspired by another player -- Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard.
"He's world-class. The way he is screening the ball and his ball control, it's an unbelievable quality," he said. "The way he plays football impresses me. I regularly watch Hazard videos on YouTube."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.