Mikel Arteta’s relationship with Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has become strained recently, while the board’s faith in the manager has started to waver according to reports.
The Gunners took on newly promoted Brentford last Friday night in the first match of the new Premier League season, though their skipper was a last-minute absentee as the side suffered a humbling 2-0 defeat.
Aubameyang’s absence – and that of strike partner Alexandre Lacazette – were attributed to illness, but there have been suggestions that something else is at play.
Reports emerged last week claiming Aubameyang was free to leave the Emirates if a suitable offer was received and now Eurosport say the 32-year-old’s relationship with Arteta has soured.
During a pre-season in which the striker failed to net a single goal, there has been noticeable ‘friction’ between the manager and the club’s top earner which has created a problem.
Ideally, Arteta would like to offload either Aubameyang or Lacazette to bring in a new forward, but so far the club have received no offers for either player.
Despite the state of flux Arsenal are currently in, and their disappointing start to the season, the club’s board still intend to give Arteta some time to establish his new-look side.
However, whereas previously the faith placed in the Spaniard was absolute, Eurosport report that he now needs to show clear signs of progress or risks losing his job before the end of the year.
There is a recognition that Arsenal have a tough start to the campaign, taking on Champions League finalists Chelsea and Manchester City in their next two games, but performances must improve after that.
If Arteta has failed to achieve certain criteria – namely being in contention for a return to Europe and playing good football – by December, then the Gunners’ hierarchy will consider giving him the axe.
That gives the head coach 13 games to lay the foundations for a good season and show enough promise to suggest they will not suffer the ignominy of missing out on Europe for a second season running.
Arsenal still hope to bring in a few new signings before the window closes which could take their spending under Arteta past the £300million mark – which only increases the need to start delivering on all that investment.
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