Mikel Arteta determined to keep focus on Arsenal’s win over Southampton
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TV personality Piers Morgan has launched an astonishing attack on Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta following his decision to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy. The Gunners forward was dropped for his side’s clash against Southampton at the weekend after reportedly arriving back late from a club-sanctioned trip to France.
It comes after he was also left out of the squad to take on Tottenham last season, again for turning up late to a team meeting.
Arteta has clearly had enough of his antics, and a strongly-worded statement was released by the club on Tuesday which read: “Following his latest disciplinary breach last week, Pierre-Emile Aubameyang will no longer be our club captain, and will not be considered for selection for Wednesday’s match against West Ham.
“We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed.
“We are fully focused on tomorrow’s match.”
There was a mixed reaction to the controversial decision on social media, but one man who was clearly not in agreement was celebrity Gunners fan Morgan.
He tweeted: “Shameful decision by Arteta. What a disgusting way to treat a man who went – with the club’s full knowledge & permission – to help his sick mother.”
Morgan has been critical of Arteta ever since Aubameyang was dropped for the game against the Saints, saying on Monday: “Disgusted to see so many supposed Arsenal fans chucking our captain @Auba under the bus like the manager did.
“He’s been brilliant since he joined us, and deserves better treatment than this when he’s temporarily out of top form. I stand firmly with Pierre-Emerick.”
Aubameyang’s future at the club is now very much up in the air, and it would be no surprise to see the 32-year-old sold in the near future.
He is one of the highest-paid players in the Premier League, earning a staggering £350,000-a-week, with his contract not set to expire until 2023.
There will be plenty of speculation over where he could go next, but he has been linked with the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid in the past.
It is doubtful whether the cash-strapped Spanish giants will be able to afford his astronomical wages, however.
Arteta is due to face the media on Tuesday afternoon, where he will no doubt be pressed to explain his decision in more detail.
It is the latest ruthless decision from a manager who has never shied away from making big calls, as the likes of Matteo Guendouzi and Granit Xhaka have found out in the past.
Arsenal take on the Hammers on Wednesday looking to keep pace with the top four, with the Gunners currently in sixth place but only two points off the Champions League qualification spots.
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