Arsenal coaching staff have ‘long-standing concerns’ about whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is a suitable club captain that have only been compounded by his latest disciplinary issue.
Aubameyang was dropped by manager Mikel Arteta for the weekend’s Premier League clash with Southampton. Arteta confirmed it was a result of a ‘disciplinary breach’ and referred to the ‘non-negotiables’ that every member of the Gunners squad must adhere to.
This was the second time that Aubameyang has been dropped this calendar year after he was previously late for a team meeting ahead of the north London derby in March.
The Daily Mail now reports that the latest issue has served to ‘amplify pre-existing reservations’ held by senior members of the coaching staff about whether he should be skipper.
It is said that certain un-named teammates also hold a similar view, but equally there are concerns that stripping the 32-year-old of the captaincy could result in avoidable disruption in the squad.
The Mail report claims through ‘well-placed sources’ that Aubameyang and Arteta have ‘not seen eye to eye on certain issues’ since the latter was appointed in December 2019.
Aubameyang had been named club captain during Unai Emery’s spell in charge at the Emirates Stadium, inheriting the role for predecessor Granit Xhaka.
Earlier this week, The Athletic explained that the disciplinary breach came when Aubameyang returned a day later than agreed after seeking permission from the club to travel to France to see his mother, who has been suffering with health problems.
It is said that Aubameyang was granted permission to travel to France on Wednesday on the condition that he would return to London that night so he could train on Thursday.
He ended up getting an early flight on Thursday and still reporting for training, but Arsenal staff seemed to take a dim view that he broke the agreement, while the issue was exacerbated by the intricacies of COVID-19 travel protocol requiring a negative test while in isolation upon arrival.