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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Sam Dean

Aubameyang’s Arsenal future in doubt after disciplinary breaches

Mikel Arteta refused to say whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will play for Arsenal again after the club’s star striker was stripped of the captaincy following a series of disciplinary breaches.

Arsenal announced yesterday that Aubameyang, the club’s top scorer and oldest player, will no longer wear the armband after he was dropped from last weekend’s match against Southampton following a late return from a trip abroad.

It was the second time this calendar year that Aubameyang had lost his place in the team due to lateness, with Arteta saying the decision was based on “certain moments when he has not fulfilled his duties”.

Arteta described the decision to remove the armband from Aubameyang as “painful” and would not confirm when, or indeed if, the striker will return to first-team action.

Aubameyang will not be considered for selection against West Ham United tonight.

Arteta is yet to name a permanent successor to Aubameyang as captain, with the Arsenal squad instead relying on a “leadership group” of senior players including Alexandre Lacazette and Granit Xhaka.

“It is a decision we have made following the last incident that we had with the player,” said Arteta. “When we had to make that decision, it was because it was the right one to defend the interests of the football club.

“Unfortunately, it is a really tough one and obviously, if I had to choose, I would not like to be sitting here talking about it. But we had to do it. For now, he is not involved in the squad.”

Asked whether there was a way back into the team for Aubameyang, Arteta said: “What I can say now is to make the decision that we made is really hurting, and it needs a bit of time to heal.”

On Aubameyang’s response to the news, which was delivered in face-to-face talks between the player and manager, Arteta only said: “He had to accept the decision.”

Aubameyang returned late last week from a visit to see his mother in France, leading to his exclusion from Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Southampton. In March, he was dropped from the Arsenal line-up for the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur after reporting late.

Barcelona could offer a solution to Aubameyang’s problems, as the Spanish club are looking for a striker in January, and the Arsenal forward is a player they are considering. 

Arsenal v West Ham United, Live, BT Sport 1, 8.00

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