Kimmich hopes 'best friend' Gnabry stays at Bayern amid Arsenal interest

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Joshua Kimmich has expressed his hope Serge Gnabry stays at Bayern Munich, as the winger continues to be linked with a return to Arsenal.

Gnabry hinted at a move away from the Allianz Arena on Thursday as he asked: "Should I leave my comfort zone?", with just a year left on his contract with the Bundesliga champions.

The forward finished the season with 14 league goals, only team-mate Robert Lewandowski (35) scored more for Bayern, while just Thomas Muller (84), Kimmich (80), and Leroy Sane (50) created more chances than Gnabry's 48.

That has led to interest from Mikel Arteta's Arsenal, who allowed Gnabry to leave for Werder Bremen in 2016 before he joined Bayern the following year.

However, Kimmich hopes his club-mate and international team-mate Gnabry stays with the Bavarian giants for at least another season.

"It's also a difficult topic for me. Serge is my best friend and that's why I hope he stays," Kimmich told reporters at a Friday news conference ahead of Germany's UEFA Nations League clash with Italy.

"We understand each other not only on but also off the pitch. But in the end, it's also important that he makes the right decision.

"Every day he joins a squad where it's fun to play football, he has the chance to play for every title with us every year and an environment where he feels comfortable, [but] he has to decide what's right for him."

Lewandowski also appears set to leave Bayern in the upcoming transfer window, declaring his "story was over" with Julian Nagelsmann's side amid interest from Barcelona.

The Poland international, like Gnabry, has a contract until June 2023, but has made his disgruntlement clear and his preference to join Xavi's side has become more than apparent.

Kimmich, though, kept his cards closer to his chest on the Lewandowski debate, with the striker suggesting he has not been offered a new deal, while Bayern have claimed a "concrete offer" is on the table.

"The question has been very popular in the last few days. Everything has been said there. I'll leave it uncommented. The players and the club have to make up their own minds," Kimmich continued.

Kimmich lifted yet another Bundesliga title with Bayern this campaign, but Nagelsmann's side crashed out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage to Villarreal.

The Germany international expressed his frustrations with the 2021-22 season as he looked ahead to the Nations League campaign with his country, which starts in Bologna on Saturday.

"I'm always a player who expects a lot from himself. We certainly conceded too many goals this season. Not only do I have to improve, but the whole team. We have to stretch us next season," he added.

"Unfortunately, I haven't been with the national team too often in the last six months. We certainly haven't achieved enough with Bayern.

"We have to present ourselves differently next season. The national team now has important tournaments with the Nations League, World Cup and then the European Championship.

"The games that are coming up now are special again. These are not friendly games either. The Nations League is already good because it's about something. Then you'll see where we stand."

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