Mikel Arteta remained as tight-lipped as possible when asked about the decision to strip Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the Arsenal captaincy, and gave an update on who will take the armband.
The Gunners confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that the Gabonese striker has been forced to relinquish the role following a ‘disciplinary breach’.
Arteta was asked about this decision in a press conference prior to Arsenal’s match with West Ham, but pointed to the clarity of the statement provided earlier.
“I don’t have much more to say. I think it is a really clear statement from the club, it is a decision we have made following the last incident that we had with the player and this is where we stand,” he said (via football.london).
When asked how Aubameyang reacted to the news, Arteta simply replied: “He had to accept the decision.”
Aubameyang becomes the second Arsenal captain in succession to be stripped of the captaincy following Granit Xhaka’s confrontation with fans in late 2019 – but Arteta revealed the Swiss midfielder and Alexandre Lacazette are next in line to take the armband, stressing the importance of the Gunners’ ‘leadership group’.
“We have the leadership group and we think that we have different players that are nominated to be captain. In the last game it was Laca and we have Granit as well who has been captain so we will follow that,” Arteta added.
“Obviously, it is a really unpleasant situation and it is not the moment to make any rash decision.
“That leadership group is really strong, it is the one that communicates with myself and the coaching staff and then with the club in a really clear and strong way.
“We are going to continue like that and that is one of the decisions that we made, to make that group a little bit better and try to educate them and try and get the right feedback all the time and build that trust and the strong culture around the club. It is working really well so we will continue to do that.
“It is really important but for me having the leadership group is something that has been tremendously helpful because then you get different voices, it is a really multicultural dressing room that needs a lot of attention and different feelings and different languages.
“They all have to be involved and I am really comfortable with that.
“[The players] accepted the decision and I think they know because they have committed to it and they have demanded that we want to take our culture, our demands and who we want to be as a club, and how do we want to represent this football club to a different level. When those standard are not met, you know that you cannot participate in our daily basics.”