Arteta not entertaining idea of Aubameyang exit


Mikel Arteta says he will not entertain the idea of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leaving and hopes he will skipper Arsenal for years to come.

Arteta has no plans to change Arsenal’s leadership group for now, but also admits it is important the captains are committed to the club long-term.

Aubameyang has worn the armband for the Gunners since Granit Xhaka was stripped of the captaincy in November following his outburst against supporters during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace in October.

It leaves the forward, Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil as the remaining players in the original five-man leadership group under Unai Emery, who held a blind ballot amongst his squad to decide the skipper for this season.

Aubameyang has this week been linked with a move to Real Madrid and only has 18 months left on his contract, but new head coach Arteta insisted he is not thinking about the possibility of him leaving.

However Arteta was happy to discuss the importance of the captain’s armband and says creating stability is very important, and, for now, Aubameyang is keeping it.

“There are many factors, some we cannot control, but at the moment everything is OK and not the time for me to change things in place because I haven’t seen real things to make the decisions,” Arteta said.

“I have been at clubs that have four or five captains. It is more a leadership group than captains. At the end it is one guy wearing the armband and after the team picks the leaders.”

Arteta captained Arsenal during his five-year spell as a player at the Emirates and the FA Cup encounter with Leeds on Monday brings back good memories for the Spaniard.

He first led the Gunners on January 9, 2012 when the Championship club made the trip to London in the third round of the competition.

It was the return of Thierry Henry and he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win, but Arteta, who only signed for Arsene Wenger the summer before, felt honoured to skipper Arsenal that day before doing so on a regular basis during his final two seasons with the club.