Mikel Arteta had file of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang “misdemeanours” before Arsenal exit

Mikel Arteta kept a detailed file containing all the problems Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had caused during his time at Arsenal in case he needed to justify a decision to reprimand him.

Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy in December 2021 and forced to train by himself after returning late from an agreed trip to France to see his mother. The incident was the final straw for Arteta, who had agreed to a strict set of rules when making Aubameyang back in November 2019.

Aubameyang was left out of matchday squads and subsequently frozen out of first-team training sessions at London Colney as punishment. Arteta eventually allowed the Gabon international, who was reportedly being paid £350,000-a-week, to leave for Barcelona on a free transfer in January – but only after the club had negotiated a tricky situation.

Behind-the-scenes footage from a new episode of Prime Video series All or Nothing: Arsenal , which will be released on Thursday, shows how Arsenal managed the Aubameyang saga. First, Arteta held a meeting with sporting director Edu, chief executive Vinai Venkatesham, director Tim Lewis and director of football operations Richard Garlick to agree on a course of action.

Having all agreed, Arteta informed Aubameyang of the decision, briefed the squad and, after much speculation from the media, released a statement which announced the decision to strip Aubameyang of the captaincy for his “latest disciplinary breach”. The statement added: “We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed.”

After holding a cagey press conference on the subject, Arteta is shown speaking with the club’s director of media, Mark Gonnella. Arteta admits the club is walking a tightrope before explaining his thought process.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal walks past Mikel Arteta

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy by Mikel Arteta
Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

“That’s why I have everything documented, with the dates, the times, the conversation – how it happened, why it happened – because if one day it’s needed then (motions to read a piece of paper),” he says. “He’s been late many times, apart from all the issues. The club has got a tradition. When you get paid that much money…”

The documentary then moves to Edu’s office, where the Brazilian and Garlick are holding a phone call with the club’s lawyer to decide on the next steps and discuss any legal issues that might arise from Arteta’s bold call.

“We can’t continue down this route of him being excluded from training until the end of the season,” Garlick says. Asked by the lawyer if Aubameyang was excluded from training just because he returned late, Garlick replies: “Mikel has a file, it’s a catalogue of misdemeanours that he’s had which has culminated in this.”

Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta was careful with the way he handled the situation

HAVE YOUR SAY! Did Mikel Arteta make the right decision with Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang? Comment below.

Speaking earlier on in the documentary, Arteta explains why he chose to punish Aubameyang. “I was extremely happy when he decided to extend his contract. We agreed and we set some objectives that we have to achieve together,” he says.

“I made some compromises of what I was happy to do and what he could expect from me and I demand the same things from him. And then, it’s [about] whether or not we are consistent which what we do and what we decided and what I wanted to install from day one. If somebody doesn’t do, or breaks, some of the non-negotiables, that’s a really difficult point to get something back from.”

All or Nothing: Arsenal is available on Prime Video now

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