The latest episodes of All or Nothing: have lifted the lid on the acrimonious breakdown in relations between Mikel Arteta and , as well as showing how the captain’s exile – and eventual exit – impacted the club.
Aubameyang was given leave for an agreed trip to France in early December for family reasons, shortly after a 2-1 defeat to , but he returned late and failed to show up to training on time.
Arteta was furious, with the Gabon international having something of a history of bad time-keeping, and he was forced to train alone, stripped of the captaincy and eventually had his contract ripped up so he could join on a free transfer in January.
There had been suggestions that there was more to the story than Aubameyang simply reporting back late to training, but All or Nothing highlights how important Arteta felt core values such as discipline and respect for the club were to the change in culture he was trying to implement.
With his skipper having ‘broken a non-negotiable’ – and not for the first time – Arteta informs the squad in a team meeting that the 33-year-old has been removed as captain, having compiled what is later described as a ‘catalogue of misdemeanours’.
‘I have to announce you something. Following the last disciplinary issue that we had with Auba, and the consequences that I decided to take not to involve him in the game, I thought carefully – myself and the club – what was the next step,’ says the Spanish coach.
‘And we have decided as a club that he is no longer our captain, so you should know that. The other decision is that, for now, he’s not involved in the squad. I will make decisions further along the line.’
He continued: ‘The club and myself we are not going to accept any behaviour like this, and what we are building goes completely against any behaviour like that.
‘So if we are going to have any meaning in changing our culture – and making sure we become a different club and team – we have to stand to those words, clearly, in every action, with anybody. And this is the message that I have to send you.’
All or Nothing also shows the fall-out among the squad and within Arsenal’s hierarchy, with Mohamed Elneny and Rob Holding both respecting Arteta’s decision and saying it shows ‘the boss has balls’.
The decision was not universally popular, though, with Aaron Ramsdale admitting that the side missed their captain’s goals and presence up top.
Similarly, technical director Edu, CEO Vinai Venkatesham and director of football operations Richard Garlick all tried to get Arteta to reverse his banishment of Aubameyang, though the relationship between manager and player was described as ‘zero’.
Aubameyang’s version of events is not given any screen time, but a brief conversation from his car suggests he feels the issue has been blown out of proportion and he intimates he has no desire to try to build bridges with Arteta.
Perhaps the most interesting snippet comes after one of Arteta’s media interviews, when he seems to be unaware that he is being filmed as he discusses the Aubameyang situation with Arsenal’s press officer.
‘That’s why I have everything documented with the dates, the times, the conversation, how it happened, why it happened, because if one day it’s needed [then I’ve got it],’ says the Spaniard.
‘He’s been late, apart from all the issues, many times. The club has got a tradition. When you get paid that much money…’
Asked when he knew Aubameyang could no longer be part of his squad, Arteta says: ‘When I looked in his eyes and I saw and I felt what I felt, that that level of trust was gone.’
The saga ends with Arsenal’s hierarchy dramatically trying to terminate Aubameyang’s contract before the January window closes, while there is a rather humorous moment when Edu discovers the forward has flown to Barcelona without the club’s permission.
Episodes 4-6 of Amazon Prime Video’s All or Nothing: Arsenal series will be available to stream on Thursday 11th August
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