Piers Morgan left uneasy by Mikel Arteta’s brash treatment of Arsenal star

Piers Morgan speaking on Simon Jordan's podcast
-Credit: (Image: YouTube/Up Front with Simon Jordan podcast)

Piers Morgan has confessed his discomfort with Mikel Arteta's management of former Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The ex-Gunners' forward left the club under a cloud in the 2022 January transfer window following a significant fallout with Arteta. The boss of the North London side was under immense scrutiny at the time, having suffered consecutive eighth-place finishes in the Premier League.

Aubameyang often seemed to be single-handedly carrying the team, netting 32 goals in 65 Premier League matches over those seasons. However, after arriving late for the 2021 North London derby and returning late from an overseas trip to visit his sick mother, Arteta stripped him of the captaincy. Just over a month later, his contract was terminated and he made the move to Barcelona.

Following the departure of the Gabonese star, Arsenal have achieved a fifth place and two second-placed finishes in three years. Morgan, who was a vocal critic of Arteta during the Spaniard's early years at the Emirates Stadium, conceded that he was unhappy with the handling of Aubameyang's situation, reports the Mirror.

"I didn't agree with it because I liked Aubameyang and I felt that his big problem with Aubameyang, from what I gathered from people inside the club, was he was a bad time keeper," Morgan revealed on the Up Front with Simon Jordan podcast.

"I thought, 'In which case, don't make him captain'. He turned up late for the North London derby, not too late for the game, but he was dropped, and benched, or whatever, and there was clearly a friction between an older player who just didn't respond very well to a rookie coach.

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"It's a shame because the one thing we probably need right now is an Aubameyang like striker. It's the one missing cog in the wheel which Arteta now has to get right.

"I look at the crucial games this season: the Aston Villa game when we lost at home, the Bayern Munich home and away, and you look at those and think, 'If you had a proper striker, there were so many chances [to win]'."

Aubameyang, who has found his goal-scoring form with Marseille this season, contributing 30 goals and 11 assists in 50 appearances in all competitions, has recently spoken out about his falling out with the ex-Arsenal captain. He opened up about one of the final conversations he had with Arteta which looked to break their relationship altogether.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal walks past Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal as he is substituted off during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on May 12, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors
Arteta and Aubameyang's relationship was broken beyond repair -Credit:Marc Atkins/Getty Images

In an interview with Colinterview, Aubameyang said: "I arrive, the coach finishes his meeting and then he grabs me and he completely tears into me, he shouts at me like I'm crazy, he says: 'You put a knife in my back. You can't do that to me given the times we're going through'."

"At that moment I tell myself that I'm not going to answer him because it's going to end angrily. I didn't go partying. He knows very well the reason for my departure, so at that moment, I don't understand why he is lecturing me like this."

"I go home and the doctor calls me and says, 'Tomorrow, the coach doesn't want you to be there.' I said 'OK', I knew the next match was coming and I said to myself, 'Damn once again everyone is going to talk about it, it's going to be a mess, what is this crazy thing? ' I couldn't understand it."