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Arsenal put pressure on Gabon to send Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back, says national team boss

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Arsenal put pressure on Gabon to send Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to the club, claims national team boss Patrice Neveu after ‘heart lesions’ were detected in the striker after recovering from Covid

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was sent back to Arsenal by AFCON side Gabon
  • The 32-year-old was found to have ‘heart lesions’ after recovering from Covid-19
  • Gabon boss Patrice Neveu says Arsenal put pressure on Gabon to send him back
  • It is unknown whether Aubameyang will have a role at Arsenal when he gets back


Arsenal put pressure on the Gabon FA to send Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to England following his post-coronavirus heart scare, national team manager Patrice Neveu has revealed.

Earlier this week, Aubameyang was sent back to the Gunners from the Africa Cup of Nations after the 32-year-old was found to have picked up ‘cardiac lesions’ after recovering from coronavirus. 

Aubameyang tested positive for Covid on the eve of the tournament along with Nice midfielder Mario Lemina, formerly of Fulham, who are now both on their way back to their respective clubs. 

Arsenal put pressure on Gabon to send Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to the club

Arsenal put pressure on Gabon to send Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to the club

The Gabon manager says Mikel Arteta’s (right) side were worried about Aubameyang (left)

And Neveu, who will now navigate the rest of Gabon’s AFCON campaign without their captain and talisman, claims Mikel Arteta’s side were influential in making sure Aubameyang would play no further part in the tournament. 

‘What I know is that they’ve been Covid free for the last 72 hours,’ Neveu told Sky Sports. ‘We couldn’t arrange an MRI for them, and as a result they couldn’t train.

‘It was really annoying for them to stay in their rooms. We made the decision (on Monday) with the president and under pressure from the clubs too, because they’re worried so that (Aubameyang) should go back to Arsenal and Mario (Lemina) back to Nice.

‘As you know, he’s a key player for Arsenal, although he’s going through a tough period at the moment. We still have to report to clubs.

Patrice Neveu (above) said Gabon were'reasonable' about Arsenal's stance on Aubameyang

Patrice Neveu (above) said Gabon were ‘reasonable’ about Arsenal’s stance on Aubameyang 

‘And when a player’s health is affected and as you know they are paid by the club, we have to be reasonable at some point.’

Sportsmail reported on Monday that there remains a degree of confusion about the striker’s return as Arsenal await clarification from Gabon about Aubameyang’s reported release back to their London Colney HQ.

In a further complication, reports from the Africa Cup of Nations had suggested Aubameyang was involved in a disciplinary breach within the Gabon camp in recent days which may have hastened his release from international duty – though the allegations were branded false by the player on social media.

In response to those reports, Aubameyang tweeted: ‘We have problems that are already complicated to solve, then on top of that there are rumours.

Aubameyang denied claims he was sent home by Gabon due to another disciplinary breach

Aubameyang denied claims he was sent home by Gabon due to another disciplinary breach

‘In short, we have health to take care of first and foremost, I won’t go back on these false rumours and I sincerely hope that our team will go as far as possible.’

Arsenal are still trying to ascertain the full background to Aubameyang’s expected return from Cameroon but have grown frustrated at the African nation’s lack of communication over the weekend just gone. 

But despite Arsenal’s attempts to make contact, the Gunners are still to receive direct contact from Gabon since Friday when they were told their striker was suffering from ‘heart lesions’.

The 32-year-old missed his side's first game due to Covid and the second due to'heart lesions'

The 32-year-old missed his side’s first game due to Covid and the second due to ‘heart lesions’

Gunners medical staff have since spoken to Aubameyang with all parties confident that the forward will make a full recovery and the issue won’t hinder his fitness moving forward.

Aubameyang himself is said to feel fine but will undergo a series of tests upon his return to Arsenal as a precaution.

Even if club doctors deem Aubameyang fit, it remains to be seen whether head coach Mikel Arteta is ready to reintegrate the 32-year-old into his plans after stripping him of the captaincy and freezing him out of first-team affairs due to a disciplinary issues.

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