Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stripped of captaincy for lack of ‘commitment’

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Arsenal have stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the club captaincy following a disciplinary breach last week.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said that Aubameyang failed to demonstrate the “commitment and passion” to play for the club.

The striker, named captain by Unai Emery in November 2019, will no longer occupy the role after multiple disciplinary breaches and Arteta did not indicate when or whether he will be allowed back in the fold.

Aubameyang was left out of the squad that faced Southampton on Saturday after returning late from a trip abroad and the club also said he will not be available for selection against West Ham on Wednesday.

"We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed," the club said in a statement.

"We are fully focused on tomorrow's match."

Arteta said that the "painful" decision had been made to "defend the interests of the football club".

The clear implication was that Aubameyang, the highest-paid member of Arteta’s squad, has fallen short of the standards expected of an Arsenal player and club captain. This also casts doubt on the 32‑year‑old’s future and whether he will stay.

Arteta suggested that there would be no rush to appoint a permanent replacement for Aubameyang as captain, with members of the club's "leadership group" set to share the responsibility in the coming weeks.

Alexandre Lacazette, who wore the armband against Southampton and is likely to retain it in the short term, joins the former captain Granit Xhaka in that group and Kieran Tierney is another understood to be involved.

Arteta would not elaborate on the steps needed to facilitate Aubameyang’s return. “The decision that we made is really hurting, and it is still like this and it needs a bit of time to heal. So for now, he is not involved in the squad.”

This is not the first time this has happened with Aubameyang.

He turned up late for a meeting before and got left out of the side to face Tottenham.

The move by Arteta has been described as a "bold decision" and there are no, or few standout candidates to assume Aubameyang's responsibility.

Meanwhile, Aubameyang is scheduled to join Gabon for the Africa Cup of Nations. Should Gabon reach the knockout stage his earliest game back for Arsenal would be Wolves on 8 February.