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AFCON: I was ‘under pressure’ by Arsenal to release Aubameyang, says Gabon coach

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has returned to Arsenal earlier than planned with Gabon boss Patrice Neveu claiming the Gunners put him “under pressure” regarding the striker’s exit.

The forward has experienced heart problems whilst away on AFCON duty and, as a result, Arsenal have recalled him to north London as they look to monitor the situation.

A scan revealed possible issues after Aubameyang tested positive for Covid 19 in the lead up to the tournament.

Gabon let the striker depart camp early for further tests with former Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina, now at Ligue 1 side Nice, also leaving prematurely.

Neveu has since revealed, as quoted by Sky Sports : “What I know is that they’ve been Covid free for the last 72 hours. We couldn’t arrange an MRI for them, and as a result they couldn’t train.

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“It was really annoying for them to stay in their rooms. We made the decision 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.”

Gabon will now have to proceed without their most influential player, who is currently out of the first team picture at Arsenal.

Despite Mikel Arteta’s recent shunning of the 32-year-old, Neveu did admit that it was the club’s right to recall their player.

He added: “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.

“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.”

Aubameyang hit back at rumours his early exit was motivated by reasons other than the state of his health.

He posted a social media to iron out the decisions that had been taken.

“We have problems that are already complicated to solve, then on top of that there are rumours,” he wrote.

“In short, we have the 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.”

Aubameyang is currently not featuring for the Gunners having been dropped in mid-December following a disciplinary breach.

Given his hefty wages Arsenal could look to move the player on in January’s transfer window with the player too keen on playing regularly.

Arteta has stripped Aubameyang of the captaincy and remained coy on his future at the Emirates.

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