Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang will not be part of Arsenal’s squad to face Manchester City on New Year’s Day after the club allowed him to join up with Gabon ahead of the African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
While the Gunners were able to keep hold of the striker until 3 January, The Athletic reports the club have sanctioned an early exit. Gabonese publication L’Union claims the player travelled in a private jet from Barcelona to Dubai for a training camp that started on Tuesday.
It’s believed Aubameyang has been training alone at London Colney ever since the disciplinary breach that led to him being stripped of the captaincy earlier this month.
Aubameyang has already missed five games for the Gunners since his last appearance in the defeat to Everton on 6 December. He’s now expected to miss at least another five fixtures with Gabon scheduled to meet Comoros, Ghana and Morocco in the AFCON group stage between 10-18 January.
Should they progress to the final on 6 February, he could miss a further three matches.
As an aside, there remains a chance that a club could pounce for Aubameyang when the January transfer window opens although his international responsibilities (and massive wages) are likely to complicate matters.