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‘It looks a difficult road back for Aubameyang at Arsenal’ – Smith

11:04 GMT+3 18/12/2021
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal 2021-22
The former England striker rules out a possible comeback for the Gabon star after he was stripped of the club's captaincy

Former England international Alan Smith feels it will be difficult for striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to resurrect his career at Arsenal.

The Gabon international is facing tough times in North London after manager Mikel Arteta stripped him of the club's captaincy following a disciplinary breach that saw him miss out on Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Southampton.

Before the game against the Saints, Aubameyang had also started from the bench in the 2-1 defeat against Everton and he also missed the 2-0 win against West Ham United.

Smith, who made 264 appearances for Arsenal and scored 86 goals, discussed the former Borussia Dortmund striker's current situation at the London giants.

“It looks a difficult road back for Aubameyang at Arsenal,” Smith said as quoted by SkySports. “When you do what you do to the captain of the club, and from the outside looking in, quite rightly Arteta has done it.

“You wonder what Aubameyang’s state of mind will be now. It didn’t seem great in the first place in terms of his confidence out on the pitch.

“I still think he’s got about 18 months left on his deal and I'm sure at this point Arteta would like to sell him, but somebody on £350,000-a-week is going to be virtually impossible to move on unless they do what they did with Mesut Ozil and give him a shed load of money and he'd have to accept less money elsewhere.

“It’s a problem and a problem Arteta didn't need, but now it's a big challenge for Arsenal to rebuild their attack and it is going to depend on some very clever and inspired recruitment.”

On whether Aubameyang’s situation can be solved in January, Smith said: “It’s going to be difficult. Not many clubs have the kind of money that would be needed for his wages, first and foremost, and especially for a player who is not hitting the back of the net.

“Why would you gamble on somebody, no matter what his reputation is from the past, who is not producing at the moment and pay big money? That’s why it is going to be really difficult.

“Arteta will surely want to try and get him back into the team, and I think he's got to try and do that.

“He’s got to use his man-management skills and they are one of the things that have needed improving since he's taken over at Arsenal because he didn’t really have any initially because he'd never been a manager.”

Aubameyang will be missing in action yet again as Arsenal travel to face Leeds United at Elland Road on Saturday.