Aubameyang ‘not available’ for Leeds match


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is “not available for selection” when Arsenal face Leeds on Saturday, according to boss Mikel Arteta.

The 32-year-old was stripped of the captaincy on Tuesday following a series of disciplinary issues, the latest of which saw him returning from an overseas trip later than agreed last week.

Aubameyang was left out of the squad for Wednesday’s 2-0 win over West Ham and will not be involved once more when Arsenal travel to Elland Road.

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“He’s not available for selection,” Arteta, who merely repeated the answer when subsequently asked whether Aubameyang still has a future at the club, said.

Arteta said earlier in the week that Aubameyang “needed time to heal” after his demotion and sources have told ESPN he is considering his options after such a public rebuke.

Arsenal moved into the Premier League top four without him in midweek and while other clubs are combating COVID-19 outbreaks of varying severity, they are relatively unscathed by comparison.

Arteta confirmed “we’ve had a few issues in the last few weeks” with COVID-19 but added that “we are good, we are waiting for more tests which we will have this afternoon and this is the only thing we can do: wait and see.”

He also reiterated his call for greater clarity in Premier League guidance regarding postponement of matches.

The league’s handbook states that a club must have 14 players available to fulfil a fixture but each request to push back a game as a result of COVID-19 takes into account additional factors including the severity of the situation and whether a club has had to close their training ground.

“Health-wise I hope that we are doing everything we can to protect everybody,” Arteta said. “Obviously the vaccine protocols are in place, everyone is trying to do their best and I am sure with everything we are doing we can do our best to keep everyone healthy.

“In terms of the competition, two things: we need much more clarity about why those games are not being played and what you need to not play a game, so we are playing in the same league. At the end the most important thing is that we are able to maintain within the context the fairness of the competition and for me this is a big thing now.”

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