Gabon manager Patrice Neveu has confirmed that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be sent back to Arsenal for further checks on the heart issue which has prevented him from featuring at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Aubameyang is in Cameroon with the rest of the Gabon squad but has not played after a check-up in the wake of his recovery from Covid-19 revealed he was suffering from ‘heart problems‘.
The Athletic revealed on Monday that Gabon were considering sending Aubameyang back to Arsenal for more in-depth health tests, and Neveu has now confirmed to Goal that both the striker and midfielder Mario Lemina will be sent home.
“Since yesterday, the decision was taken to send them home to their club,” Neveu said. “We can’t judge it here [in Cameroon], we can’t assess the pathology of Covid here.”
He added: “It’s important that Mario returns to Nice and Pierre returns to Arsenal,” he added. “It’s a decision that we’ve taken among ourselves.”
Aubameyang tested positive for the virus after landing in Cameroon but, after missing Gabon’s opening game, recorded a negative test and returned to team training on Thursday. He was scheduled to play in Friday’s 1-1 draw with Ghana, only for a fresh health check-up to rule him out.
Further tests were carried out on Sunday in the hope of this being a one-off occurrence, but the same heart problem was detected once again and the decision has been made to send Aubameyang back to London.
Getting to the bottom of this issue is clearly the most important thing right now, but Aubameyang also faces an uncertain future at club level after he was frozen out of Arsenal’s squad in the build-up to AFCON.
Repeated disciplinary breaches saw Aubameyang stripped of the captaincy by manager Mikel Arteta, who left him out of team training and was expected to make a decision about his future at the Emirates upon his return.