Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has furiously defended his move to freeze Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of his Gunners squad amid intense criticism from celebrity fan Piers Morgan.
Aubameyang was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy and removed from consideration for selection for the Premier League clashes against West Ham and Leeds, as well as the Carabao Cup quarter-final against Sunderland.
The reason behind the move was described in a club statement as being in response to an alleged disciplinary breach committed by Aubameyang.
The striker signed a new contract in September 2020 which substantially increased his salary, but he has struggled for goals and form since then.
Amid those struggles, Arteta has now frozen him out of his squad, with Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah and Florian Balogun the senior striker options.
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Many have backed Arteta for taking such strong action against one of the leaders of the Arsenal dressing room.
But former Good Morning Britain host Morgan has frequently blasted the Spaniard for his approach with the striker.
Morgan has highlighted the reason since given for the alleged breach of discipline, as well as highlighting the fact that Amazon have been filming Arsenal for their All or Nothing series.
“Shameful decision by Arteta. What a disgusting way to treat a man who went – with the club’s full knowledge & permission – to help his sick mother,” Morgan tweeted when news of Arteta’s move broke.
“Arteta’s ongoing public shaming of @Auba is disgusting. Horrible classless disloyalty that I suspect is purely designed to make him look tough for the Amazon cameras, and to distract from his own very mediocre performance as manager,” he tweeted the next day.
“Second time Arteta’s publicly thrown @Auba under the bus like this over internal ‘discipline’ issues. Just outrageous disloyalty to a guy who’s scored 68 goals for us in 128 games,” he added after Arteta had been questioned before the win over West Ham.
Arteta has now hit back at those criticising him, insisting that his actions with Aubameyang are about “respect and commitment”.
“I do not establish my authority by being dictatorial or ruthless. I just ask for one thing: respect and commitment,” the Arsenal boss said.
“At this level, if I don’t get that, I will pack my bags and go somewhere else because that is the minimum I can ask for.
Offside via Getty Images)
“I am going to expect that from everybody who works for the club. First of all from myself, and the day I don’t do that I will walk through that door and go and do something else. It as clear as that.
“To be successful you have to be passionate about something and want to represent a club of this size, with its history. That is the minimum standard you have to bring.
“I am not going to ask anybody to put the ball in the top corner every time they hit it, but I will ask them to do the right things every single day for this club.”
Arsenal travel to relegation-threatened Norwich City, but Aubameyang is again unlikely to be considered for selection at Carrow Road.