Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta described himself as the “solution” in his relationship with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, after the Gabon striker said he left the Premier League club because the Spanish boss had a problem.
Aubameyang terminated his contract with Arsenal by mutual consent and moved to Barcelona this month, ending speculation around his future after Arteta stripped him of the captaincy due to a “disciplinary breach” in December.
The 32-year-old said last week that Arteta was not happy with him at Arsenal, which contributed to his decision to find a new club.
“That’s his opinion, that’s what he said and you have to respect that,” Arteta told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’m extremely grateful for what Auba has done and his contribution. The way I see myself in that relationship is the solution, not the problem.
“I’ve been the solution, 100%. I can look in the eye of anybody. I do a lot of things wrong for sure. The intention all the time is the best – and not for me, it’s for the club and the team.”
Aubameyang helped Arsenal win the FA Cup in 2020 and was made the captain last season after signing a contract extension in 2020. But soon after that, his Arsenal career began to turn sour and he left with 18 months remaining on his contract.
Asked if he was disappointed over Aubameyang’s exit, Arteta said: “I think it ended up in the best possible way for everybody… We all made the decision and the best thing was to move on.”
Arsenal did not make major signings during the January transfer window but had several players leave in search of game time.
Arteta said the club did “the right thing” in the transfer window, and he expressed his faith in strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah to score goals in the absence of a replacement for Aubameyang.
“They are both more than capable of scoring for us and have shown that over the years,” Arteta added.
“When we have to replace or improve the squad, we can only be with a player we are certain of.”
Arsenal are sixth in the league on 36 points after 21 matches, two points ahead of eighth-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers whom they face on Thursday.