Arteta remains coy on Aubameyang future after AFCON return

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insists he will decide whether or not to play Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang again once he has reassurances over his health.

Aubameyang has not featured for Arsenal since the start of December. He was stripped of the captain’s armband as a result of a disciplinary breach.

The forward has been linked with a move away from the Gunners in recent weeks but he was due to feature for Gabon at this month’s African Cup of Nations.

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The 32-year-old tested positive for Covid-19 in the lead up to the tournament. It was then revealed that he was not selected for their game against Ghana due to suspected “heart problems”.

Extensive examinations were carried out by the Confederation of African Football (CAF), with Aubameyang’s team-mates Axel Meye and Mario Lemina forced to miss the match for the same reason.

The Arsenal star’s AFCON came to an end earlier this week due to concerns about his health. There was speculation that Aubameyang was omitted from the Gabon squad due to a disciplinary issue.

He shut these rumours down, writing on Twitter: “We have problems that are already complicated to solve, then on top of that there are rumours.

“In short, we have health to take care of first and foremost. I won’t go back on these false rumours and I sincerely hope that our team will go as far as possible.”

"He's in London going through some examination because we haven't had any clarity from Gabon, about the reasons why he came back."

Mikel Arteta updates on the health of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after he returned from AFCON early

— Football Daily (@footballdaily) January 19, 2022

On Wednesday, Gunners manager Arteta confirmed that Aubameyang has returned to north London and is now going through medical checks.

“He is in London and now he is going through some examinations because we haven’t had any clarity from the Gabon national team about the reasons why he came back,” Arteta said.

“It is our obligation to make sure that medically the player is safe, is in good condition.

“So far historically everything that we have done with the player he’s never had an issue so hopefully that is the case.”

The Spaniard was asked if Aubameyang will play for Arsenal again, but remained coy on the subject.

“He contracted Covid and then the national team decided to bring him back here,” he said. “We need to make sure the player’s health is in the best possible condition and then we’ll see what happens.”

Thomas Partey’s AFCON also came to an end this week after Ghana were eliminated from the competition.

Arteta is hoping the midfielder will be back “as soon as possible” with Arsenal getting ready to host Liverpool in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Thursday.

“They played last night, it was a huge disappointment for Thomas obviously because he was representing his country and in the period he had big games in the competition,” he said.

“He’s out now so he needs to be fully focused and involved with Arsenal.

“When [will he be back]? As soon as possible.”

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