Premier League • England

Aubameyang future at Arsenal in doubt after Arteta axe reason emerges

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang applauding the fans 2021

The future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Arsenal has been thrust into further doubt after the real reason why he was axed against Southampton has surfaced.

The striker, 32, was a surprise omission from Arsenal’s matchday squad to face the Saints. Aubameyang wasn’t needed in the end as Arsenal ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. Nevertheless, his absence has predictably proved a major talking point.

Aubameyang had been relegated to the bench last Monday for Arsenal’s clash with Everton. Mikel Arteta surprisingly called on Eddie Nketiah from the bench before Aubameyang in the contest.

Aubameyang was introduced to the action later in the second half, though squandered a last-gasp opportunity to salvage a draw.

Rumours of a rift between the pair have swirled in recent days. Seeing Aubameyang’s name missing from the teamsheets on Saturday did little to quell the speculation.

Arteta kept tight-lipped on the reasoning behind his call – both before and after the match. However, the Athletic have now revealed the reason behind the Spaniard’s decision.

They state Aubameyang was axed because he ‘returned late from a trip abroad’.

Aubameyang caused disruption to Covid-19 protocols

The outlet insist Aubameyang was authorised to make the journey, though he ‘returned later than agreed’. That then had ‘implications’ for the club’s Covid-19 protocols.

That incident is somewhat similar to the one that saw Aubameyang dropped for the north London derby with Tottenham in March.

On that occasion, the Gabon marksman reported late for the crunch clash. The Athletic’s article at the time stated it was not the first time he had reported late that season.

Arsenal interested in Lille duo

The Gunners are eyeing midfielder Renato Sanches and striker Jonathan David.

With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah out of contract next year, Arsenal’s forward line could require major surgery next summer.

A recent report from Sports Mole claimed a lengthy list of suitors were forming for Aubameyang if his Arsenal career continued to decline. Today’s incident could be another stepping stone towards Aubameyang saying goodbye to the Emirates.

What are the chances of Mohamed Salah signing a new contract with Liverpool?

Exit rumours swell for Arsenal sulker

Meanwhile, Kevin Campbell believes Nicolas Pepe only has himself to blame for a lack of playing time with Arsenal as rumours continue that he is eyeing a winter exit.

It was reported back in November that Arteta was looking to sell Pepe in the January transfer window. And suggested earlier this week that the player is becoming frustrated with his Arsenal situation.

He is keen for a winter exit, according to reports, preferably on loan. The club will then need to make a decision about his long-term future next summer.

Reports suggest the former Angers star is cutting a forlorn figure at present. And ex-Arsenal striker Campbell feels that will have a knock-on effect throughout the playing staff.

“Maybe Pepe’s attitude is not right,” he told the Highbury Squad, via

“And that sends a bad message to the team. If you are not putting the work in, if you are just skulking around, it sends a bad message to the team.”