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Arsenal icon Lee Dixon has urged Mikel Arteta to avoid giving up on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in spite of the forward’s current situation at the club. Aubameyang has seemingly been exiled from the first-team picture in north London after he was stripped of the captaincy following a breach of discipline earlier this month.
The Gabonese forward returned late from an authorised trip away before Arsenal’s match against Southampton at the Emirates Stadium last month.
He was subsequently left out of the matchday squad before Arteta decided to remove him as club captain.
Aubameyang has not featured for Arsenal since their defeat to Everton at the start of this month and has been linked with a January move elsewhere as a result of his lack of action.
A number of clubs, including Juventus and Newcastle United, have been credited with an interest in the 32-year-old as of late.
However, Dixon believes that it would be naive for Arteta to maintain his firm stance with regards to Aubameyang while he remains on Arsenal’s books.
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“If you are a coach with any brains you never rule out your best goalscorer in the club,” the former Gunners full-back told the Daily Mail.
“Of course there’ll be a period of time where he is not in favour and he is right in the middle of that now.
“If Arsenal were to get a couple of injuries and be in a position where they needed him, I am pretty sure the length of time Arteta is going to keep him out might just get a little bit shorter.
“If he comes in and gets a couple of goals all of a sudden he’s back in favour again. But I am not saying he should stay at the club.
“I think it was right he lost the captaincy and he has quite rightly been sanctioned by the manager and the club.
“I am pretty sure Arteta has his own idea on who he should have up front, and I’m pretty sure given what has gone on it is not going to be Aubameyang.
“Long term, he won’t be at the club for too much longer. If somebody is sniffing around to take him elsewhere, I think Arteta would jump at that opportunity in January.”
Former England striker Gabriel Agbonlahor recently echoed Dixon’s comments in criticising Arteta’s handling of the situation, insisting that Aubameyang did not deserve to be stripped of the Arsenal captaincy.
“You’d think he’d committed a massive crime,” he told Football Insider.
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“Stripped of the captaincy might have been overkill but you understand it. Get someone else in there who is always going to obey the rules and not do anything wrong.
“Aubameyang was never a captain for me, he’s not captain material. No problems with that. Miss a game, ok, it’s a bit harsh but you’re ok with that.
“But then you banish him to train on his own is massive overkill. That’s crazy, it’s like Arteta’s on a power trip.”
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Aubameyang will be able to force his way back into the frame at Arsenal over the coming weeks.
The Gunners have taken maximum points from all four of their matches in the striker’s absence and will be looking to maintain their positive momentum with a solid result in their next outing against Manchester City on New Year’s Day.
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