LONDON — Arsenal stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy on Tuesday after another disciplinary breach, saying the striker hadn’t worked “to the rules and standards” set by the club.
Aubameyang, the club’s highest-paid player, was also told he would not be considered for selection for the English Premier League game against West Ham on Wednesday.
The Gabon striker was left out for the game against Southampton on Saturday because of what manager Mikel Arteta described as a “disciplinary breach.” Aubameyang reportedly was allowed by the club to travel to France for a family matter last week, after the 2-1 loss at Everton on Dec. 6 which he started as a substitute, but returned a day later than agreed.
“We expect all our players, particularly our captain, to work to the rules and standards we have all set and agreed,” Arsenal said in a short statement.
“We are fully focused on tomorrow’s match.”
Aubameyang was left out of the team for the north London derby against Tottenham in March because of a “disciplinary issue,” according to Arteta at the time.
A few months earlier, he was granted time away to visit his mother because she had health issues and missed games in the Premier League and FA Cup.
Aubameyang has just four goals in 14 Premier League games this season after signing a three-year contract extension last year that made him the team’s highest-paid player.
He was made captain by Arteta’s predecessor, Unai Emery, after Granit Xhaka was stripped of the honor in November 2019 following his angry reaction to being booed by Arsenal fans after being substituted in a league game.
Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018 and his latest contract runs to the summer of 2023.
He said he wanted to become “an Arsenal legend” when using a live video recording on Twitter to announce his lucrative new deal in September last year. That was a reward at the end of his first two full seasons at Arsenal where he shared the Golden Boot — the trophy given to the Premier League’s leading scorer — in the 2018-19 season and was only one goal short of the award in the 2019-20 season.
He also scored twice in the FA Cup final in August 2020 to give Arsenal a 2-1 win over Chelsea and the club’s first trophy under Arteta.
Aubameyang’s performance levels have dipped since then and he scored 10 league goals last season.
Arsenal is in sixth place, two points behind fourth-placed West Ham going into the game at Emirates Stadium.