The deal that saw Serge Gnabry depart Arsenal for Werder Bremen at the end of the summer transfer window has been hailed as "clever and creative" by Willi Lemke, formerly the Bundesliga club's general manager for 18 years.
It was something of a surprise that the German departed the Emirates Stadium given that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had recently said he wanted to extend his Gunners contract, per ESPN FC's Mattias Karen.
However, he made a permanent move to Bremen for just €5 million-€6 million (£4.2 million-£5 million), with Kicker reporting that German champions Bayern Munich had paid the fee to "secure an option to buy the player," though ESPN FC indicated the smaller club paid for the 21-year-old themselves.
Clearly it was a somewhat unconventional deal that saw Arsenal lose Gnabry to Germany, and Lemke—now a member of Bremen's supervisory board—hailed the inventiveness of current general manager Frank Baumann, per Sport1 (h/t James Benge of the Evening Standard):
"I think it's really very clever and creative how [Baumann] has gone about the deal. I think it's great how it's turned out. It's difficult for me to talk openly about it as I'm a member of the supervisory board and have to adhere to confidentiality."
Given Gnabry's recent form, Arsenal could rue not being able to keep hold of him, while he should be a huge asset at Bremen, where he will get much more game time than he did in north London.
His last Premier League appearance for Arsenal came back in the 2013-14 season, while a loan spell at West Bromwich Albion in 2015 was ended early when he failed to earn a regular spot in the Baggies side.
However, he starred at the recent Rio 2016 Olympic Games tournament, scoring six goals as Germany won the silver medal.
The reaction to Arsenal allowing Gnabry to leave with a season still remaining on his contract was far from positive, per Metro's Oli Price-Bates and German football pundit Jan Aage Fjortoft:
It is evident that Wenger was keen to keep him, but Lemke's comments indicate that Bremen were shrewd in their approach and the Gunners were perhaps left with little choice but to let him leave.
In potentially more positive news for Arsenal, former target Adrien Rabiot has revealed he wants a move to the Premier League.
The 21-year-old French midfielder has been with Paris Saint-Germain since 2012 but has now admitted he wants to return to England having spent some time with Manchester City in 2008.
Per French outlet Telefoot (h/t The Independent's Jack Austin), he said: "I really liked my time in England and the life there, even outside of football. I told myself that I will return one day. I have always had the desire to play in England, it is in me. The Premier League—that is football."
Rabiot is a talented central midfielder and still has the potential to turn into a top-class star.
Arsenal currently are well set in the middle of the park with Granit Xhaka, Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny to call upon, but Rabiot is an exciting enough talent that Wenger would be well-advised to keep an eye on his movements in the coming transfer windows.