Arsenal have stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the club captaincy and dropped him for today’s Premier League game against West Ham following a “disciplinary breach.”
The 32-year-old was left out of Saturday’s 3-0 win over Southampton, with sources having told ESPN he returned late from a sanctioned holiday, although both the club and manager Mikel Arteta refused to confirm the specific nature of the incident when questioned at the time.
A statement published on the Arsenal website yesterday read: “Following his latest disciplinary breach last week, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will no longer be our club captain, and will not be considered for selection for Wednesday’s match against West Ham United.
“We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed. We are fully focused on tomorrow’s match.”
Arteta was due to hold a prematch news conference yesterday, at which he was expected to name Aubameyang’s successor and explain the situation in further detail.
It would not be the first instance of Aubameyang’s poor timekeeping causing internal issues. In March, he was dropped for the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur after arriving late for a team meeting on the day of a game.
A month earlier, the club had to speak to Aubameyang to “remind him of his responsibilities” after footage emerged of him getting a new tattoo despite strict COVID-19 protocol measures.
Although sources told ESPN that COVID-19 was not a key aspect of his latest breach, Aubameyang’s delay in returning to the club may have had potential ramifications for the club’s safety measures, especially at a time when Premier League guidelines have been tightened in response to the omicron variant surging through the United Kingdom.