Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been banished from Arsenal first-team training and will continue to be exiled from Mikel Arteta’s plans until the end of 2021 at the earliest.
The striker’s future at Emirates is looking increasingly bleak following the decision to strip him of the club captaincy on Monday, for what Arsenal called his ‘latest disciplinary breach’ after returning late from an agreed trip to France to collect his sick mum.
According to Sportsmail, the 32-year-old has not been involved in first-team training at the club’s London Colney training gound this week, a development that casts further doubt over his future in north London.
Instead, the striker has been training alone, away from the squad. Arteta confirmed on Friday that Aubameyang would not be considered for the weekend game versus Leeds and it is understood his non-inclusion in first-team affairs will continue until he leaves for Africa Cup of Nations duty at the end of the month.
A date for Aubameyang’s release for the tournament, which is taking place in the Cameroon next month, is still to be agreed.
But the forward is understandably keen to leave for international duty as soon as possible.
Sources are adamant Aubameyang’s non-inclusion within the senior set-up this week is not tantamount to a strike – but described as a ‘mutual’ decision from all parties.
Indeed, Aubameyang is particularly keen to stay as fit as possible ahead of Gabon’s tournament campaign and is not refusing to train.
Despite this week’s fall-out, Arsenal are contractually obliged to provide Aubameyang with training provisions with the striker still using the club’s facilities despite his exile.
But his non-involvement at first-team level raises questions over whether there is a way back for him under Arteta.
There appears no chance of Aubameyang being reintegrated into the first team before he reports for international duty later this month.