Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has bounced back from acrimonious, Mikel Arteta-driven Arsenal exit… after quiet spell for Chelsea now would be IDEAL time for his feet to do the talking especially as faces his former club and boss for first time since leaving
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could play against his old club Arsenal on Sunday
- The Chelsea striker left the Gunners in January after falling out with Mikel Arteta
- But Sunday’s game is the perfect chance for him to ‘let his feet do the talking’
- Their bond deteriorated in the later stages of Aubameyang’s time at Arsenal
- Sources claim there were a string of disciplinary issues that prompted his exit
In a released Netflix series about captains attempting to lead their countries to the Qatar World Cup, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang discusses his football upbringing and some of the lessons he learned from tough and physical training sessions with his dad.
‘Never complain. Never complain,’ the France-raised, former Gabon skipper Aubameyang says. ‘Get back up and continue. It was an African education. The hard way, but in France.’
Later on, he adds: ‘Whether it is in life or on the pitch. Even if we get knocked down, we get back up and we keep going.’
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (pictured) could come back to haunt Mikel Arteta on Sunday
Chelsea vs Arsenal will be the first time he and Arteta (pictured) have faced off since his exit
The insight into Aubameyang’s mentality is timely ahead of his first reunion with Arsenal since his Mikel Arteta-driven departure, a sub-plot to Sunday’s London derby between his old club and new.
Aubameyang has got back up and continued his career at two of Europe’s biggest clubs after being forced out of Arsenal, first Barcelona and now Chelsea.
And set against having his exit detailed over a number of episodes in Arsenal’s All or Nothing Amazon series, there has been little public complaint too, with Aubameyang largely keeping his counsel and extended thoughts about the controversial conclusion to his time at the Emirates to himself.
His appearance in a TV advert ahead of the game might have riled some fans but Aubameyang loved Arsenal and had a strong relationship with the supporters, hence the contract he signed in 2020 with the intention of making the north Londoners the club he served longest, leaving ‘a legacy.’
Their relationship deteriorated towards the end of Aubameyang’s (left) time at Arsenal
Sources at Arsenal also claim that there were several disciplinary issues that lead to his exit
It is unlikely he has anything like the same warmth for Arteta – one video soundbite of Aubameyang questioning his ability to handle ‘big characters and big players’ would suggest not – even if Aubameyang is described as not a hateful person and may never express that willingly for a public audience.
However, having declared on his return to England in September that he has ‘unfinished business with the Premier League’, the man who brought him back hinted that at least proving Arteta wrong may be one big motivation.
Then Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel, also Aubameyang’s former Borussia Dortmund boss, said: ‘The more challenges he has, the better he is. If he wants to overcome the [Chelsea] No 9 curse or he wants to show somebody in London that he’s better than people think. The more the better.’
The deterioration in Aubameyang’s relationship with Arteta was rapid.
While their relationship worsened, there is no sense at Arsenal that striker was harshly treated
In the summer of 2020 Aubameyang proudly posted a picture of them together on social media with the caption ‘my manager’ after inspiring Arsenal to FA Cup glory at the end of Arteta’s first season in charge before the Spaniard persuaded the striker to sign a new contract.
By the end of 2021, their bond was broken beyond repair, Aubameyang stripped of the captaincy and frozen out. Arteta, who insists on his players adhering to his non-negotiables, claimed he had ‘a catalogue of misdemeanours’ by Aubameyang as he explained in All or Nothing why his patience had run out.
Doubts have been expressed in some quarters about the contents, as the dossier had not been widely seen.
However, Arsenal sources are adamant there were a string of disciplinary issues and incidents beyond those that were public knowledge that Arteta had kept note of, many related to time keeping, warnings had been given and Aubameyang’s role as captain made them harder to ignore.
The pair did have a good bond at the club but that quickly deteriorated leading to his exit
After leaving, Aubameyang joined Barcelona back in January, scoring 11 times in LaLiga
There remains no sense at Arsenal that Aubameyang was harshly treated.
The final straw for Arteta was Aubameyang’s late return from a trip to France to see his mum Magarita last December.
It was sanctioned and essential with his mother seriously ill, more so than many realised.
The changing Covid protocols at the time complicated matters for Aubameyang but there is also an acknowledgement that some of the damage could have been limited had he informed the club once he realised he would not be back in time.
But, with technical director Edu confirming Arsenal’s desire to pay off older players on big-money that they deemed under-performers, events at the time merely gave them further ammunition to cut ties with Aubameyang despite his status as captain, popularity plus all the goals, golden boots and records set.
Aubameyang’s goal scoring prowess proceeds itself having won two golden boot awards
Thomas Tuchel (right) brought him back to England, having worked with him at Dortmund
Aubameyang’s £350,000-per-week contract is also understood to have contained clauses which had yet to kick in at the time but were either lucrative or in his favour.
Aubameyang’s goal scoring record per club
Borussia Dortmund: 213 appearances, 141 goals and 36 assists. Scoring ratio of 0.66 goals per game.
Arsenal: 163 appearances, 92 goals and 21 assists. Scoring ratio of 0.56 goals per game.
Barcelona: 24 appearances, 13 goals and 1 assist. Scoring ratio of 0.54 goals per game.
Chelsea: 11 appearances, 3 goals and 1 assist. Scoring ratio of 0.27 goa ls per game.
Arsenal avoided them becoming relevant by sanctioning Aubameyang’s free transfer departure to Barcelona, where he secured his place in their affections by joining when they were in the doldrums and helping fire them into the Champions League.
The summer arrival of Robert Lewandowski and their need to make and save money paved the way for his £10m move to Chelsea.
Waiting for him with open arms was Tuchel, a big fan of Aubameyang and whose face lit up whenever he was on the agenda.
Unlike Arteta, Tuchel maintained Aubameyang had only been a problem for him on once, that did not involve time-keeping and described him as someone difficult to get angry with.
He also criticised the culture of ‘judging people very quickly’ and perceptions that his personal lifestyle choices, for example his luxury cars, equate to unprofessionalism.
‘Maybe he is just a bit more crazy than us. It is very fine,’ Tuchel said.
His successor Graham Potter, just as comfortable dealing with whatever idiosyncrasies players may have, echoed the German.
Potter said: ‘He [Aubameyang] has been fantastic with me. No problems at all. Real pleasure to work with.
‘Maybe the outside thinks he’s this loud, flashy person but he’s not. We found him really quiet, really humble, a nice person who wants to support the team, has been really respectful all the time. Just very fast cars! You can’t be late driving those cars, can you?
Graham Potter (right) has been impressed with the forward so far despite his lack of goals
The former Gabon skipper has scored three times in 11 games for Chelsea in all competitions
‘His taste is a bit different to mine and his taste in clothing is a little different to mine, but I’d like to think we’ve got some similarities as well.
‘He’s got kids, he’s a family man. He wants to enjoy his football, be happy, be supported, be part of the team.
‘Everybody is different. Just because you drive a fast car doesn’t necessarily tell you too much about your personality or character. You might just like cars. It’s not something that has ever bothered me to be honest.
‘I think you should treat people how you find them and not pre-judge. Everybody deserves that. I can only speak as I find him and he’s been really good.’
Aubameyang had a tough time moving back after an armed robbery left him with a broken jaw
Aubameyang arrived at Chelsea as a club rather than Tuchel signing and in a whirlwind move shortly after he was the victim of horrific armed robbery at his home in Barcelona.
That left him with a broken jaw and needing to wear a face mask in his first couple of Chelsea appearances.
Aubameyang hated it and could not wait to remove the mask as it hampered his vision and breathing, with goals following his next three Chelsea appearances after he was cleared to play without it.
Since then Aubameyang has been quiet on the goals front in his last six Chelsea appearances, none of which lasted 90 minutes as Potter has managed his workload.
What a time it would be for his scoring feet to start doing the talking for him again.
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