According to the Gabon national coach, Arsenal will not let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang play for Gabon again after the team were forced to spend six hours in an airport with some players sleeping on the floor but Mikel Arteta doesn’t seem to be aware of that.
During the last international break, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal’s top earner, posted pictures of what the Gabon squad were having to deal with in Gambia airport as they awaited permission to enter for their Afcon qualifier.
Long night for Aubameyang. Sat up all night at Gambia airport with the Gabon squad, waiting to be let in ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Can imagine how delighted Arsenal will be with that. pic.twitter.com/wQAbq77tU0
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) November 16, 2020
Charles Watts was correct, according to the Gabon coach, Patrice Neveu, at least.
“After seeing these conditions, it is over … They will not let him return and not only him, this will happen to other players.
“It is understandable. They are high level players and when they leave their teams should have a modicum of comfort. All the players tried to sleep on the airport floor.
“Imagine if Aubameyang, who earns more than €1 million a month, gets injured. Arsenal may well be upset by what happened after watching to your player injured on the ground.”
It’s hard to know from those comments if that is an official line from Arsenal or just a little bit of naughtiness from the Gabon coach. He made the comments almost a week ago and they got very little coverage in the UK press which would lead you to believe this is more Neveu’s opinion than Arsenal’s official line.
Speaking ahead of the game against Leeds, Mikel Arteta was asked about it all and said, “It’s to really know the protocols that the national teams are applying is impossible.
“We just try to be in contact with them and make sure we know what they’re expecting.
“Obviously the percentages of risk are increasing constantly. We are learning about it and there’s not much we as managers can do.
“Obviously it was a shock to see the squad sleeping like that. I obviously believe everyone is trying to do their best. Sometimes unpredictable things happen and it was an experience.
“I’m sure for many months and years you haven’t slept on the floor. Make sure when you’re on the bed you make sure you know how lucky you are. I hope next time it doesn’t happen.”
‘Next time’ would certainly seem to indicate that Arsenal have not, as claimed, told Aubameyang he cannot play for his country.