Mikel Arteta confirms Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has joined up with Gabon for AFCON as he refuses to be drawn on whether the exiled star has a future at the club after stripping him of the captaincy
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is on international duty, Mikel Arteta confirmed
- The exiled star has linked up with Gabon for next month’s Africa Cup of Nations
- Arsenal welcome Premier League leaders Manchester City on New Year’s Day
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed exiled star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has left the club to join up with Gabon for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Reports on Thursday suggested the striker had linked up with his country for next month’s tournament and would miss Arsenal’s clash against league leaders Manchester City on Saturday.
Arteta, who is currently isolating with coronavirus and so conducted his pre-match press duties from home, confirmed that was the case with Aubameyang now away on international duty.
Mikel Arteta (R) confirmed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (L) has joined up with Gabon
Arteta stripped the centre forward of the captaincy following another disciplinary breach
The centre forward has been frozen out by the Gunners boss after he stripped the captaincy from him for another disciplinary breach, and Arteta refused to discuss whether Aubameyang has a future at the club.
‘For me it’s not about being right or wrong it’s about making the decisions that you believe are a consequence of what you’re asking them to do. As I said we’ll go game by game,’ he said on Friday.
‘At the moment he’s gone. He needs to focus on the national team. We had the conversation that that was the best way to do it.’
Arsenal have been in fine form since Aubameyang was frozen out and are in fourth place
The tournament in Cameroon will get underway on January 9 and even counting for just group stage matches, Aubameyang will miss at least five Gunners fixtures.
Along with the City clash there is also the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final against Liverpool, the FA Cup third-round tie against Nottingham Forest and even the north London derby against Tottenham.
A Premier League clash at home to Burnley the following weekend on January 22 may also come too soon for the striker even if Gabon are knocked out of the group stage.
Should Gabon go all the way to the final on February 6, then Aubameyang could also miss the clash at Wolves on February 10.
In Aubameyang’s absence the Gunners have won five consecutive games across all competitions while scoring 19 goals and are flying high in fourth place in the Premier League.