Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is undergoing medical tests in London as Arsenal try to get to the bottom of the Covid-related health scare that saw Gabon send the player back to London.
The striker joined up with his country in early January for a pre-AFCON training camp in Dubai but was forced to self-isolate on his arrival in host country Cameroon when he tested positive for the virus.
Having missed Gabon’s opening game with Comoros, he was set to feature in their second outing against Ghana before being pulled from the squad at late notice after scans highlighted what was vaguely termed ‘heart lesions’.
Head coach Patrice Neveu claimed the striker had subsequently been recalled by Arsenal while the player himself had to dismiss rumours that his exit was linked to a disciplinary matter. Even without Aubameyang, Gabon sealed safe passage to the knockout stages last night with a 2-2 draw against Morocco.
Facing the press ahead of Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg with Liverpool, Arteta was pressed for an update on a confusing state of affairs.
He said: “He’s in London and now he’s going through some examinations because we haven’t had any clarity from the Gabon national team about the reasons why he came back.
“Obviously, it’s our obligation to make sure that medically the player is safe, in good condition and that they are not any issues related to that. We want to try to avoid any suggestion that that’s the case because so far, historically, everything we’ve done with the player he’s not had that issue. Hopefully, that’s the case.”
Asked if Aubameyang could return to Cameroon to take part in Sunday’s last 16 clash with Burkina Faso, Arteta added: “The situation that we have is that he contracted Covid and then the national team decided to bring him back here.
“This is where we are. Let’s go step by step, again, do the right examinations and make sure the player’s health is in the best possible condition and then we’ll see what happens.”
Exclusive: Saudi giants Al Nassr make loan offer to Arsenal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with mandatory €8 million purchase clause. Gunners still mulling offer. https://t.co/5kCdpaDOBu
— James Benge (@jamesbenge) January 19, 2022
As if a Covid scare wasn’t enough, Aubameyang has also been in the headlines for losing the Arsenal captaincy and there remain suggestions his future at the club could be brought to a premature and ignominious end.
Journalist James Benge, reporting for CBS Sports, claims Saudi club Al Nassr have asked whether they can take the attacker on loan until the end of the season with a view to buying the player in the summer for €8 million.