Mikel Arteta gives cryptic response to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Arsenal exile

The Arsenal manager has banished the 32-year-old Gabon international from team training and not selected him for matches following a disciplinary breach that saw him stripped of the captain’s armband

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Mikel Arteta reviews Sunderland win

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has kept his cards particularly close to his chest in the latest round of questions surrounding Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at the club.

The 32-year-old has not been seen since the dismal 2-1 defeat away at Everton at the beginning of the month after a disciplinary breach saw him dropped for the 3-0 home victory over Southampton.

Just 48 hours later, Aubameyang was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy with the club releasing a short statement that appeared to suggest the misdemeanour that sparked this response was not his first.

Since the Gunners talisman has been axed as skipper, Aubameyang has not been seen. Arteta confirmed the forward has not been in contention for selection in any of the games against West Ham, Leeds or Sunderland in the Carabao Cup respectively.

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Mikel Arteta has insisted he is not looking for an apology from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang


BT Sport)

Following Tuesday night’s 5-1 demolition of lowly Sunderland in the League Cup, Arteta provided an update on the Aubameyang situation that hardly clears up any of the mounting speculation surrounding the striker.

Pressed on whether the former Borussia Dortmund needs to apologise for his conduct, Arteta explained: “I think we have shown in this club that everybody can make mistakes or you can have different ways of thinking or acting.

“I am completely open to that. It is not about that.”

Arteta has never explicitly gone into detail on the reasons for Aubameyang’s drop, instead simply stating: “It was a disciplinary breach and that’s why he was out of the squad.

“I think we have been very consistent that we have certain non-negotiables in the team that we have set ourselves as a club.”

It looks increasingly likely that Aubameyang’s Arsenal exile will continue until after the Africa Cup of Nations at the earliest, which could take him into February, though it is not expected that Gabon reach the final.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could call time on his Arsenal career in January

The 32-year-old is one of four first-team Gunners jetting off to participate in the tournament for Gabon, along with midfield duo Thomas Partey with Ghana and Mohamed El Neny with Egypt and much-maligned winger Nicolas Pepe for Ivory Coast.

There is a chance Aubameyang has played his last game in an Arsenal shirt, given he is likely return from international duty during the January transfer window.

European giants such as Barcelona and Juventus are both rumoured to be keen on securing the 32-year-old’s signature, initially on a six-month loan deal before making it a permanent move in the summer.

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