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Rafa Benitez makes inside claim about Arteta and Aubameyang

Rafa Benitez makes inside claim about Arteta and Aubameyang

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LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang interacts with Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal as he is substituted during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang interacts with Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal as he is substituted during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on October 22, 2021. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta’s relationship with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is generally understood to be pretty fractious, particularly in light of recently-published comments from the former Arsenal striker.

Speaking in an interview following his move from Arsenal to Barcelona, Aubameyang had said: “To manage big characters and big players, he can’t deal with it. He needs some young players who don’t say anything, they just listen.”

Aubameyang attempted to diffuse the situation later, clarifying that it wasn’t a recent interview and he now wishes his old team well. But it certainly suggests the two were at odds by the time the 33-year-old left north London.

Yet Rafa Benitez claims Arteta actually tried hard to defend Aubameyang internally, up until the eventual decision to part ways.

“Aubameyang was a big decision,” Shay Given said to Benitez in a Premier League Productions programme (via HITC).

“He was the captain. He was the leading goalscorer. But, as a young manager, [Arteta] made a big decision to get him out of the club, and now he is kind of rewarded for it.”

“I will tell you something, because I know something a little bit from inside,” Benitez responded. “I think he was trying to support the player, as much as he could.

“Then after he couldn’t, so he had to make a decision and that’s it.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal poses with Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal and the FA Cup Trophy after their teams victory in the Heads Up FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 01, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal poses with Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal, and the FA Cup Trophy after their team’s victory in the Heads Up FA Cup Final match between Arsenal and Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on August 01, 2020. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

We don’t know everything that goes on behind the scenes, but we know Arsenal gave Aubameyang quite a lot of chances before eventually dropping him from the squad.

The All Or Nothing documentary revealed that Arteta had a full dossier of Aubameyang’s misdemeanours by the time he took him out. It wasn’t any one incident, it was a long list of them.

If Benitez is right, perhaps Arteta was the one ensuring Aubameyang kept getting second chances. But the situation reached its breaking point, and they had to go their separate ways in the end.

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