Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said on Friday that he hopes former striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will receive a warm welcome to London should he complete a switch to Premier League rivals Chelsea from Spanish LaLiga club Barcelona.
Aubameyang has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea by the British media, just a few months after his acrimonious exit from Arsenal following a period during which he was removed as captain for disciplinary issues and frozen out of the squad.
Details of former Gabon international Aubameyang travelling to Barcelona without Arsenal’s permission emerged during Amazon Prime’s docuseries that covered the team’s 2021-22 campaign but Arteta sought to draw a line under the matter.
“It’s a long time since that happened. I can’t go back each time there’s a series,” the Spanish coach told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s league clash with Leicester City.
“I have made my comments on that. What’s been done has been to defend the club and put it in the best possible position.
“Auba is an exceptional player. He did so much for us. I hope that he gets a good reception (if he returns) because he deserves that.”
Arteta said he was pleased with how defender Kieran Tierney had recovered from a knee injury last term that needed surgery.
“He played 15-20 minutes (in the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace) last weekend and did well,” Arteta said. “He looks in perfect condition now and ready to go.”
But winger Reiss Nelson faces a spell out after sustaining a muscle issue. “He felt something in training,” Arteta added. “The doctor came with bad news. Hopefully he will be back soon.”