Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang needs ‘time to heal’ after losing Arsenal captaincy, Mikel Arteta reveals

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta accepts it will take time for the rift with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to heal – but refused to be drawn on whether the former captain had played his last game for the club.

Aubameyang was dropped for Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League victory over Southampton for what boss Arteta said was a “disciplinary breach”, which reportedly concerned a late return from a trip abroad.

On Tuesday morning, the club confirmed Gabon forward Aubameyang would no longer wear the captain’s armband and would also not be considered for the visit of West Ham on Wednesday night.

Arsenal’s statement said the club expected “all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed”.

It is not Aubameyang’s first transgression, having previously been benched for March’s north London derby against Tottenham after what was described as a breach of the club’s pre-match protocol.

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“What I can say now is to make the decision that we made is really hurting, and it is still like this and it needs a bit of time to heal, so for now, he is not involved in the squad,” said Arteta, who could again name Alexandre Lacazette captain against the Hammers.

Asked if Aubameyang had played his last game for the club, Arteta added: “All I can say is that for now, he’s out of the squad, he’s not involved and sadly, this is the decision that we’ve taken.”

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