Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has defending his handling of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, insisting benching the striker was not simply a power move from him.
Arteta stripped Aubameyang of the captain’s armband following another disciplinary issue and has instructed the Gabon international to train away from the squad until after the Africa Cup of Nations, having previously reprimanded him in the past as well.
Some have accused Arteta of throwing Aubameyang under the bus in an attempt to prove his power and control in the dressing room, but the boss was having absolutely none of those suggestions.
“I do not establish my authority by being dictatorial or ruthless. I just ask for one thing: respect and commitment,” Arteta said (via the Mirror). “At this level, if I don’t get that, I will pack my bags and go somewhere else because that is the minimum I can ask for.
“I am going to expect that from everybody who works for the club. First of all from myself, and the day I don’t do that I will walk through that door and go and do something else. It as clear as that.
“To be successful you have to be passionate about something and want to represent a club of this size, with its history. That is the minimum standard you have to bring.
“I am not going to ask anybody to put the ball in the top corner every time they hit it, but I will ask them to do the right things every single day for this club.”
ESPN have previously reported that Arsenal are prepared to listen to offers for Aubameyang in the January transfer window, claiming they are ready to rid themselves of the 32-year-old and his £350,000-a-week contract.
That salary is going to make it tough to find a suitor for Aubameyang. Barcelona are monitoring the situation but are close to bringing in Manchester City’s Ferran Torres instead, while Juventus have been tentatively suggested as possible buyers as well.