Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been stripped of the club captaincy, with manager Mikel Arteta commenting that it was done to defend the interests of the club.
Following Arsenal‘s 3-0 win over Southampton, Arteta confirmed the reason for Aubameyang’s omission from the squad, but refused to be drawn on details before The Athletic reported it was because he returned late from an authorised trip abroad.
“The Athletic understands he was given permission to fly abroad for a personal matter. However, he returned later than agreed, leading to his exclusion from the squad.”
It wasn’t the first time Arteta had dropped Aubameyang for disciplinary reasons as the Gabon international missed the win over rivals Tottenham in March for a “breach of pre-match protocol” – and now Aubameyang has been stripped of the captain’s armband.
BREAKING: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and will not be selected to play West Ham pic.twitter.com/0bywQUOL5a
— B/R Football (@brfootball) December 14, 2021
Mikel Arteta has spoken about the decision.
“We have made this decision that unfortunately is a really tough one. If I had to choose I wouldn’t like to be sitting here talking about it, but we had to do it. When we have to make that decision, it’s because it’s the right one to defend the interests of the football club.”
Asked when Aubameyang might return to the squad, Arteta said time is needed.
“For now, it’s been a lot to digest and a really difficult decision to make, so we need a bit of time. It was really hurting and he needs a bit of time to heal.”
Aubameyang has just signed a bumper three-year contract with Arsenal, having joined from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 for a reported £56 million.
However, the striker has only managed four Premier League goals this season, with the last coming in October against Aston Villa.