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“My problem was only with Arteta” – Aubameyang

Former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has attributed the reason for him leaving the Premier League club in the January transfer window to his poor relationship with manager Mikel Arteta.

Aubameyang, 32, completed the signing of his three-and-a-half-year contract with Barcelona on Wednesday after it was mutually agreed that he would leave Arsenal on Tuesday evening.

The Gabonese had not played for Arsenal since being left out totally in the cold for a disciplinary breach in December after he returned late from a trip abroad to visit his ailing mother. Gunners manager Arteta subsequently took him out from the squad and excluded him from team selection, leaving Aubameyang no options but to train by himself while also being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy.

Speaking at his Barcelona unveiling Aubameyang said:

“My last few months at Arsenal were complicated, that’s football sometimes.

“For my part, I never wanted to do anything wrong. My problem was only with Arteta. I can’t say much more, I wasn’t happy.

“It was just him and he made that decision. He wasn’t happy, I can’t tell you more. He wasn’t very happy, I was very calm.

“Those were difficult months. This is football. I’ve never wanted to do anything wrong, it’s the past and I want to think about the present.”

Aubameyang also said on Instagram that leaving Arsenal “without a real goodbye hurts”.

The Gabon striker said:

“I have always been 100 per cent focused and committed on doing everything I can for this club which is why leaving without a real goodbye hurts — but that is football.

“I’m sad I did not get the chance to help my teammates in the last few weeks, but I have nothing but respect for this club and truly wish all my guys and the fans all the best and many successful years in the future!”

Aubameyang’s contract with Barcelona lasts until June 2025, with the option to terminate in June 2023, and has a buyout clause of €100 million.

Barcelona head coach Xavi is understood to have identified Aubameyang as his primary target to strengthen at the top of the pitch this month and he plans for the ex-Borussia Dortmund forward to slot into the team in the No 9 position.

Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia