Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang breaks silence on his Arsenal exit, accuses manager Mikel Arteta of ‘putting a knife in his back’

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang breaks silence on his Arsenal exit, accuses manager�Mikel Arteta�of

 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has accused his former coach Mikel Arteta of ‘putting a knife in his back’ amid their toxic fallout at Arsenal.

The former captain had signed a new contract to stay at the Emirates for 18 months prior to his February 2022 exit but played his last match in red in December 2021 before being permanently dropped by Arteta. 

The manager is believed to have frozen out his star striker after he returned late from a pre-arranged trip.

Aubameyang mutually agreed to the termination of his contract with the club and booked a deadline day move to Barcelona.

The Gabonese striker spent the remainder of the season at the Camp Nou before an ill-fated single-season transfer to London rivals Chelsea at the start of the 2022-23 campaign.

Aubameyang has now stressed that he had been given permission for the extended trip by his head coach and that he ‘didn’t understand’ why Arteta had taken such a hard line with him. 

‘It was during the COVID period and we were playing, I think, Everton,’ Aubameyang told  Colinterview. ‘My season wasn’t great, we were struggling in the league and the day before the coach told us: “Look, it doesn’t matter if we win or not, you have a day off. 

‘”But if you want to leave, you notify yourself before the match because you have to follow the health safety rules.”

‘My mother a few months before had a stroke, it was going to be Christmas time so I went to see the coach and I said to him: “Coach, I’m coming to see you because I’d like to leave, I’m going to go pick up my mother to bring her back for the holidays.”

‘He tells me no problem.’ 

Due to the necessity of strict COVID-19 protocols, Aubameyang was reportedly slightly delayed in his return to the Emirates – which prompted a tough response from his head coach. 

‘I arrive, the coach finishes his meeting, and then he grabs me and completely tears into me,’ Aubameyang continued. ‘He shouts at me like I’m crazy. 

‘He says: “You put a knife in my back. You can’t do that to me, given the times we’re going through.”

 

‘At that moment, I tell myself that I’m not going to answer him because it’s going to end angrily. 

‘I didn’t go partying. He knows very well the reason for my departure so at that moment I don’t understand why he is lecturing me like this. I go home and the doctor calls me and says “Tomorrow, the coach doesn’t want you to be there.”‘

‘The days pass and the doctor tells me: “Look, he doesn’t want you to be with the group anymore, but you will be able to come and train but separately.” 

‘I say to myself OK… And then afterwards, he calls me and we have a meeting so he can explain to me that one, he’s taking away the captain’s armband, and two, I’m not training any more with the group.’

 

 

Ahead of his deadline day move, Aubameyang said that he had one final meeting with Arteta that saw the head coach share that he had been keen to use his former captain as an ‘example’ to the dressing room.  

 

 

‘Once again, (Arteta) explains why he is against me during this period when it was complicated for the club,’ the 34-year-old added. 

 

 

‘That I have to be an example and that I couldn’t do that. At that moment, I said, “I admit that I have my share of responsibility, but the real cause I think you can understand if you are a little bit human. You can understand my move.”

 

 

‘After that, it was over, I stayed for a month training on my own while waiting for the break. 

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