Mikel Arteta has defended his handling of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, insisting that benching the striker was not a power play on his part.
Arteta removed Aubameyang’s captaincy following another disciplinary incident and instructed the Gabon international to train separately from the squad until after the Africa Cup of Nations, having previously reprimanded him.
Arteta has been accused of throwing Aubameyang under the bus in an attempt to demonstrate his dominance and control in the dressing room, but the boss was having none of it.
“I do not establish my authority by being dictatorial or ruthless. I just ask for one thing: respect and commitment,” Arteta said (via the Mirror).
“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.
“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 is 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.”
ESPN previously reported that Arsenal are willing to listen to offers for Aubameyang during the January transfer window, claiming they are prepared to part ways with the 32-year-old and his £350,000-a-week contract.
That salary is going to make it difficult for Aubameyang to find a suitor. Barcelona are monitoring the situation but are close to signing Ferran Torres from Manchester City, while Juventus have been mentioned as potential buyers as well.