Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is willing to give Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang another chance in the first-team squad despite the striker’s “mistakes.”
Aubameyang was stripped of his captaincy as a result of returning to training late after he was permitted by the club to fly out to Gabon to be with his mother.
The 32-year-old’s Arsenal career appeared in tatters as he was left out of the previous four match-day squads and given his own training programme to undergo alone at London Colney.
But Arteta has seemingly offered his former talisman an olive branch despite the forward reportedly having been given several chances regarding his discipline before.
Speaking on Wednesday ahead of the Boxing Day fixture against Norwich, the Spaniard said: “We will go game by game and we will decide the squad as we get closer to the game.
When asked why there was less clarity with his squad update than usual, he added: “That’s because we usually talk the day before a match, that’s when we decide the squad.
“We have shown in this club, everybody can make mistakes and have different ways of thinking and acting…I’m completely open to that, it’s not about that [making an apology]."
The Gunners have not suffered in the Gabon international’s absence in the past few weeks, scoring 14 goals across their four matches.
Do you think Arsenal have moved beyond needing Aubameyang? Let us know in the comments section.
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And should the striker return to the squad, there is no guarantee that he will be able to oust the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, who have all made a solid claim to start for the north Londoners.
Speaking about Nketiah after his hat-trick against Sunderland, Arteta said: “With the way he’s training and performing he deserves more minutes.
“That’s the way I would like to respond to that situation regardless of what happens with any other player.”
Nketiah’s future remains unclear with the Hale End graduate set to become a free agent in the summer after rejecting the club’s latest offer of a new contract, due to a lack of game time.
When asked whether Nketiah will stay, Arteta added: “We are trying really hard to do the best that we can.
“The contract has an expiry date and you can’t control that and we’ve had discussions with Eddie for a long time.
“I repeat again that his genuine intention is that he wants to play football and that’s what’s driving whatever decision he’s going to take for his future and you have to respect that.”
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