Mikel Arteta has dropped another hint why his relationship with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang broke down which resulted in the Gabonese striker leaving the club to join Barcelona.
Arsenal mutually agreed to terminate Aubameyang’s contract allowing him to join Barcelona on a free transfer last week.
Arriving back late from a trip abroad to bring his sick mother was reported to be the final straw, but ahead of Thursday night’s game against Wolves, Arteta hinted that the 32-year-old’s lack of consistent effort on the training pitch had been noted by members of the first-team squad.
Asked if he could have taken a more sympathetic approach with Aubameyang given his star status, Arteta replied: ‘I don’t think I am too hard on that to be fair. I don’t know the perception externally. There are some minimums and a line you cannot cross.
‘If someone is going to cross it because they scored 25 or 30 goals that dressing room has to accept it. First of all you have to score 25 or 30 goals. ‘Maybe they said ‘listen guys don’t train, you train once a week and you play’. They will decide. If they are happy with that and with me there is no problem.
‘If they are happy and can live with that, everyone is happy. You have to do it though, hey?
When it was suggested he felt the squad weren’t willing to accept a lack of application from a senior player, Arteta added: ‘I don’t work with impressions I work with facts. I like to see, I want to smell and sense where this is going and if possible anticipate issues.’ Arteta had previously slammed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, insisting that he – arteta was the solution rather than the problem following a riff that resulted in the Gabonese striker leaving the club. ‘I’m extremely grateful for what Aubameyang has done at the club and his contribution since I have been here and the way I see myself in that relationship is the solution not the problem.
‘I have been the solution. One hundred per cent. I can look in the eye of everyone. I do a lot of things wrong for sure but the intention all the time is the best and not for me, it’s for the club and the team.’ This was after Aubameyang alleged that the Arsenal coach had a problem with him. He said: ‘I think it was a problem just with him [Arteta]. He made the decision. I can’t say much more. He wasn’t happy, I stayed very calm and that’s it.’