Arteta in­sists Aubameyang is go­ing nowhere in Jan­uary

The Punch - - SPORTS -

Mikel Arteta is not en­ter­tain­ing any idea of Pierre-em­er­ick Aubameyang be­ing sold in Jan­uary.

The Arse­nal cap­tain is keen on leav­ing the club with the hope of play­ing Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball.

When asked about the chance of a Jan­uary sale, Arteta said, “I don’t even think about that­pos­si­bil­i­ty­with­auba,iwant him here.”

In­ter Mi­lan have joined Barcelona in the race to sign Aubameyang, ac­cord­ing to the Mir­ror.

The Gabon in­ter­na­tional re­fused to sign a con­tract ex­ten­sion ear­lier in the sea­son, with­his­cur­rent­dealset­to­ex­pire in the sum­mer of 2021.

The 30-year-old has scored 56 goals in 89 games for Arse­nal and his form has alerted some of Europe’s most pres­ti­gious clubs to his avail­abil­ity.

Aubameyang was handed the cap­tain’s arm­band in a bid to keep the Gabon star com­mit­ted tothe­cause­asarsenal­try­to­turn their poor sea­son around.

In the short term, the striker has pledged his com­mit­ment to the cause for the re­main­der of the sea­son.

The Arse­nal for­ward is des­per­ate to be play­ing Cham­pi­ons League foot­ball next sea­son, but the prospect of Mikel Arteta’s side rub­bing shoul­ders with Europe’s elite come Septem­ber are look­ing slim, leav­ing the Arse­nal cap­tain to weigh up his op­tions.

An­other player ru­moured to be leav­ing in Jan­uary is for­mer cap­tain Granit Xhaka. Sources have told ESPN the Switzer­land in­ter­na­tional is keen to join Hertha Berlin, with Xhaka’s agent later claim­ing terms over a move had been agreed with the Bun­desliga side.

How­ever, Arteta said he has spo­ken to the 27-year-old, who was stripped of the cap­taincy fol­low­ing a clash with Arse­nal sup­port­ers, to un­der­stand why he was con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the club.

“I had a con­ver­sa­tion with him and I wanted to un­der­stand his feel­ings first, the rea­son why he was think­ing here prob­a­bly wasn’ttheright­place­to­con­tinue his ca­reer,” Arteta said. “I gave him­my­opin­ion,myper­spec­tive, and I told him that I was ready to sup­port him from the club per­spec­tive.

“I wanted his team­mates to get his back and help him to change his mind be­cause we need him. I be­lieve that if we were able to do that the fans would re­spond in a pos­i­tive way.

“I’ve seen him act ev­ery day, how he trains, how he lives his pro­fes­sion and the qual­ity of the player. He could be a re­ally im­por­tant player for the club.”

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