Arteta explains why Premier League was right to halt as return looms


Mikel Arteta believes the Premier League showed they were aware of their “bigger responsibilities” when deciding to halt the season in March.

The Premier League was suspended three months ago due to the coronavirus outbreak. Arteta’s own positive test was one of the main factors in influencing the league to shut down.

Arsenal will be involved in the first day back when the Premier League returns on Wednesday night. They face an away tie with Manchester City, the club Arteta used to be an assistant coach at.

As the Gunners prepare to play competitively again, Arteta insists the league made the right decision to pause.

He told Sky Sports: “The night that I started to have some symptoms, [I thought] how serious that was. And it was a matter that I could not make a decision, but that it had to be reported, because obviously I could put at risk a lot of people, and I wasn’t willing to do that.

“I love this game, but we have bigger responsibilities than that to do that. I think we made the right call and the right decision.

“I think after the authorities and Premier League as well were really strong on that and I think I agree that it could have been much worse.”

Arsenal are in ninth place, after going unbeaten in the league in 2020 so far. They won their last game before the lockdown, 1-0 against West Ham.


Arteta on Aubameyang future

Arteta has also spoken about the future of his captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The striker is out of contract next summer, so Arsenal could sell him when the transfer window opens.

The club may be wary of losing a key player for free, like they did with Aaron Ramsey last summer. Several pundits have warned them of the dangers of not convincing Aubameyang to stay.

Only Jamie Vardy has scored more Premier League goals than Aubameyang’s 17 this season. The former Dortmund star scored four goals in his last five appearances before the break.

Aubameyang has admitted that he is at a “turning point” in his career. At 30 years old, he faces a big decision over where he plays next season.

Reports have linked the Gabon international with a move abroad, potentially to Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan or Barcelona. There have even been claims that Frank Lampard wanted to take him across London to Chelsea.

However, the Arsenal boss says he is “pretty positive” they can find a solution to keep Aubameyang.

“We have many discussions with Pierre, with his family and his agent. I’m pretty positive we can find the right agreement for all parties,” said Arteta.

“I think it is our responsibility to make him feel this is the right next step in his career. In order to do that he needs to feel valued, he needs to feel he belongs to us and that we want him.

“He really needs to believe we can take this club forward in the way we want to and he’s going to be a key part.”

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