Arsenal captain and midfielder Mikel Arteta has admitted that he is “not really interested” in the club’s long-term future. The Spaniard, who made his comments on Monday after Arsenal drew 0-0 with Manchester United at Old Trafford, said: “I’ve never wanted to be a manager or coach at any point of my career.”
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been relieved of his duties. (Photo courtesy of Getty)
Mikel Arteta believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang lacks the ‘commitment’ to remain as Arsenal captain, and that his successor must demonstrate a willingness to ‘put the team ahead of any personal interests.’
Due to an unexplained disciplinary problem, Aubameyang, 32, was left out of Arsenal’s matchday squad for the team’s 3-0 win against Southampton at home, the latest in a long line of disciplinary issues that have happened during Arteta’s two-year stint at the Emirates.
Aubameyang was deprived of his captaincy after it was revealed that he had failed to arrive for duty on time after a permitted excursion to France earlier in the week.
Aubameyang’s unethical behavior has already made headlines, with the attacker being benched for last season’s north London derby due to a ‘breach of pre-match protocol.’ Poor timekeeping was also an issue during his last stint with Borussia Dortmund.
The Gunners have subsequently stated that Aubameyang will not be considered for a leadership position – or for their forthcoming Premier League match against West Ham – and his future in north London is now in severe question.
Granit Xhaka, who took over as captain from Aubameyang in November 2019, has been touted as a potential successor, and Arteta has refused to rule out passing the armband back to the Swiss midfielder.
Arsenal’s other probable possibilities to take up the reigns for the second half of the season and beyond include Kierney, Aaron Ramsdale, Alexandre Lacazette, and Ben White.
‘What I expect of any person in this football club that is representing this badge is passion, that he gives 100 percent, that he puts the club ahead of any personal interests, and that he is able to do anything to fulfill the badge that we have on our chest,’ Arteta told reporters when asked what qualities he expects from Arsenal’s next captain.
‘Apart from that, you may listen to people and learn about diverse cultures.’
‘However, the devotion and passion have to be present, which they weren’t [with Aubameyang].’
Arteta said that Aubameyang had fallen well short of the expectations he had set for himself and Arsenal when he took up the leadership little over two years ago.
‘As a club, we have made a very clear choice,’ he continued.
‘It’s because we feel he has failed to commit to the degree of commitment that we all expected and agreed on, so it’s that easy.’
Arteta has refused to rule out the possibility of Xhaka reclaiming the captain’s armband (Picture: Getty)
The Spaniard said that removing Aubameyang’s armband was not an easy choice, considering that a coach’s responsibility is to support players both on and off the field.
‘I feel extremely terrible,’ he said, ‘I wouldn’t want to be in this situation, not with a player making these kinds of mistakes.’
‘At the end of the day, a coach’s goal is to try to assist a player become a better person, to be happy, content, and to enjoy themselves on the field, and Auba isn’t going to be able to do that right now.’
‘So it’s all grief for me.’
‘We’ve taken a choice because we feel it’s the best course of action at this time, and there’s no use in going any further.’
Football (and other sports)
The Aubameyang story has become an unwelcome distraction for Arteta and Arsenal ahead of their match against West Ham, which might be pivotal in the push for a top-four finish this season.
However, the Gunners will take heart from their comprehensive win against Southampton, which came after back-to-back losses, and success at the Emirates may propel them into the Champions League qualifying places.
Patrick Vieira compares Conor Gallagher to Ray Parlour and Frank Lampard, two Arsenal and Chelsea stalwarts.
MORE: Nigel Winterburn lists five possibilities to take over as Arsenal captain from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.