Arteta explains absence of Aubameyang and Lacazette for Brentford vs Arsenal

Mikel Arteta has confirmed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have been ‘feeling unwell’ and could therefore play no part in Arsenal’s Premier League opener away to newly-promoted Brentford.

Aubameyang will have been desperate to start the campaign strongly after a disappointing return last term, but the 32-year-old missed training on Wednesday and Thursday and has not been considered for this evening’s London derby.

The Gabon international, Arsenal’s captain since November 2019, contracted malaria towards the end of last season and lost four kilograms during his battle with the disease, recently admitting it was ‘the worst moment of being sick in my life’.

His latest illness is not thought to be linked but it’s a frustrating setback nonetheless, with strike partner Lacazette also unavailable at the Brentford Community Stadium.

Reports in the build-up to tonight’s match suggested Arsenal could be ready to listen to offers for both Aubameyang and Lacazette.

The former put an end to months of speculation over his future by putting pen to paper on a new three-year contract after firing the north London outfit to FA Cup glory 12 months ago.

But the ex-Borussia Dortmund attacker was a shadow of his former self last season and managed just 15 goals in all competitions as Arteta’s side finished outside of the European qualification places down in eighth.

Lacazette, meanwhile, was Arsenal’s top goalscorer, netting 17 times, but has been heavily linked with a move away from the Emirates across the summer transfer window.

The Frenchman is out of contract in 2022 and has been attracting interest from the likes of Roma, Atletico Madrid and even Liverpool.

Arsenal must decide whether to cash in on Lacazette before the summer transfer deadline or risk losing the forward on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season.

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