Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will take no further part in the AFCON and has returned to Arsenal after “heart lesions” were found on a medical scan.
The 32-year-old missed Gabon’s draw with Ghana on Friday after scans revealed “heart lesions” following a bout of Covid with Aubameyang testing positive on arrival in Cameroon on January 6th. This was the second time Aubameyang had tested positive for Covid.
Aubameyang, who is out of favour at Arsenal following a disciplinary breach that saw him stripped of the club’s captaincy, will undergo further medical checks upon his return to Arsenal.
Nice midfielder Mario Lemina has also been released from the Gabon squad after “heart lesions” were also found on the ex-Southampton player’s scan with Gabon’s statement on the matter saying:
“The Gabonese Football Federation has decided to put the players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina at the disposal of their clubs to continue the in-depth examinations.”
The striker, who also tested positive for Covid in August, has not played for Arsenal since he was dropped and stripped of the club captaincy last month.
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”.
Mikel Arteta spoke 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.