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Mikel Arteta sent warning on Arsenal conduct in hint at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang error

Mikel Arteta’s stance on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw the striker leave Arsenal in the January transfer window, and the Gunners boss has been warned of the detrimental impact his approach could have

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Arsenal legend Martin Keown has warned manager Mikel Arteta that he “can’t keep falling out with people” after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left to join Barcelona.

Arteta had frozen Aubameyang out of the first-team setup after stripping him of the captaincy, with the striker following Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi as players that the Spaniard has shipped out after disciplinary issues.

But despite the Gunners’ squad looking healthier than it has done compared to the past few seasons, Keown is concerned that Arteta’s seemingly hard-line approach could have a detrimental impact at the Emirates.

“Is this decision in the best interest of Arsenal Football Club? That’s all I’m looking at,” the 55-year-old said on TalkSPORT.

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Arteta stripped Aubameyang of the captaincy and froze him out


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“There is no replacement that’s come in for the striker. Arsenal are in a fight for fourth place and have an opportunity to do that.

“This player, slightly differently to the Ozil situation, the current manager give him the contract. He assessed the player, felt he was good enough to go ,so no problems.

“[ Thomas] Tuchel [the striker’s boss at Borussia Dortmund ] at has come out and said ‘yes, Aubameyang was always late for training. We handled him differently’, okay, so the manager knew what the situation was.

“And, of course, what I don’t want also is the manager to get a reputation for falling out with players.

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“I don’t know of another high profile manager who has fallen out with quite so many players. Maybe it was easy to fall out with Ozil. Guendouzi has since gone on and done well, got into the national team. That’s one or two fallouts.

“He may feel he’s eradicating a culture that was allowed to grow under Arsene Wenger. I understand that but at the same time all football players are very different so what you need to do is find a way to get the best out of everybody.

“You can’t keep falling out with people. You could argue, and I’ve seen Arsenal fans say, ‘if you step out of line then you’re out’ – but maybe not if you’re [ Granit] Xhaka. He’s stepped out of line a few times and come straight back into the team.

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“So this sort of policy of management, is it about building a culture or are there certain things he’s seeing in players where he thinks ‘I don’t want it. You’re out of the building’?”

But with the dust beginning to settle on Aubameyang’s departure, Keown sees the move as a “shame.”

“I thought Aubameyang was a part of [Arteta’s] greatest success, to win the FA Cup. It was a shame that he was allowed to leave,” the Highbury icon added.

“I didn’t want the captaincy stripped because I was fearful the player was going to leave. That’s what’s happened.

Aubameyang has joined Barcelona

“It’s a shame the welcoming hand wasn’t shown to him after he took the captaincy away. It’s a massive honour to captain that football club – as he himself knows – and the player has been cut loose.

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“Now he’s at Barcelona. That’s the quality of the player… His form dipping is the reason for this. He’s always had the same character traits as he’s always had, but he stopped producing on the football pitch.

“Through Covid it’s like he’s fallen off a cliff in terms of performance and he’s had to go.”

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