Mikel Arteta has admitted that the decision to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the Arsenal captaincy was a painful one, and revealed it was communicated to the 32 year old in a face to face meeting.
The club released a statement earlier today saying, “Following his latest disciplinary breach last week, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will no longer be our club captain, and will not be considered for selection for Wednesday’s match against West Ham United.”
Ahead of the West Ham game tomorrow night, Arteta faced the press and this was obviously the main topic of conversation. Here’s what he had to say.
Q: Can you elaborate on the statement.
Arteta: I don’t have much more to say, I think it’s a really clear statement from the club. It’s a decision that we have made following the incident, the last incident that we had with the player. And this is where we stand.
Q: How many incidents have there been?
Arteta: I don’t mind you asking, but I cannot go any further on that. As you can believe when we have to make that decision, obviously, because it’s the the right one to defend the interests of the football club.
Q: Did you break the news to him yourself?
Arteta: Yes, we did it in combination with the club. Having a personal conversation with myself and face to face with the player.
Q: How did Auba take it?
Arteta: He had to accept the decision.
Q: What’s next? Any thoughts on who is going to be the next captain?
Arteta: Well, we have the leadership group. And within that we have different players that are nominated. Laca was captain in the last game, we have granite as well, who has been Captain as well. So we will follow that, obviously, is a really unpleasant situation. And is not the moment to make any rash decision.
The leadership group is really strong. It’s the one that communicates with with myself, the coaching staff and with the club in a really clear and strong was, and we’re gonna continue like that. That’s one of the decisions that we made to make that group a bit better. And, and try to educate them and try to get the right feedback all the time and build that trust and a strong culture around the club and is working really well, so we’ll continue to that.
Q: The next captain will be Arsenal’s 11th in 14 years. How important is it to get this decision right for the short term future of the club.
Arteta: It is really important. But for me, having the leadership group is something that has been tremendously helpful because then you get different voices. This is a really multicultural dressing room, one that needs a lot of attention and different feelings and different languages. And they all have to be in both. And I’m really comfortable with that.
Q: Has there been any impact on the dressing room?
Arteta: Well, they accepted the decision. And I think they they know, because they have committed to it. They have demanded that we want to take our culture, our demands, and who do we want to be as a club and how we want to represent his football club to a different level. And when those standards are not met, you know, then you cannot participate in in our daily basics.
Q: Would you consider selling Aubameyang in January?
Arteta: All I can say right now is that we have made this decision that, unfortunately, is a really tough one. Obviously, if I had to choose I wouldn’t like to be sitting here and talking about this, but but we had to do it. And the next one is that for now, he’s not involved in squad?
Q: When will he back in the squad?
Arteta: What I can say is for now, as you can understand, it’s been a lot to digest and a really difficult decision to make. So we need a bit of time.
Q: How would you describe your relationship with Pierre-Emerick?
Arteta: Since I’ve been here, really, really good. That’s, that’s why it’s painful.
Q: If Pierre had scored 10 goals in his last five Premier League matches, would you still made the same decision regardless?
Arteta: Without a question of a doubt.
Q: Has he said sorry.
Arteta: I cannot discuss what I have discussed with him. Sorry.
There is more to come on this via the embargoed section of the press conference. We’ll publish a transcript of that at 10.30pm this evening.