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Worry for Arsenal as Aubameyang Sent Back From AFCON due to Heart Issues

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Arsenal striker and former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been sent back from international duty by Gabon after being diagnosed with heart issues.

Aubameyang left the Arsenal squad to join the Gabon national team for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, being hosted in Cameroon. But he has was diagnosed with COVID-19 infection on his arrival at the host nation on January 6 and was ruled out from the opening fixture.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Before the player could return to the squad, he had to go through a scan as a precautionary measure. But the scan revealed ‘heart lesions’ and Aubameyang was left out of the second group game as well, as the Gabon Football Federation didn’t want to take any risks.

Now, the 32-year-old has been released from AFCON duties and returned to Arsenal. He is undergoing further scans at the club. Medics from the Emirates have spoken to the doctors with the Gabon national team, who reported the issue as not ‘too serious’.

Gabon national football federation also released Nice midfielder Mario Lemina who was also diagnosed with the same issue. The statement said:

“The Gabonese Football Federation has decided to put the players Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina at the disposal of their clubs to continue the in-depth examinations.”

Aubameyang’s dismissal from international duty raised speculations of misbehaviour in the camp. Later, the Gabon striker tweeted his reply against the rumours. The English translation of the tweet reads:

“We have problems that are already complicated to solve, then on top of that there are rumours, in short, we have health to take care of first and foremost, I won’t go back on these false rumours and I sincerely hope that our team will go as far as possible.”

The head coach of the Gabon national football team, Patrice Neveu, told Sky Sports that he was “under pressure” from Arsenal to release Aubameyang:

“What I know is that they’ve been Covid free for the last 72 hours. We couldn’t arrange an MRI for them, and as a result, they couldn’t train,”

It was really annoying for them to stay in their rooms. We made the decision yesterday with the President and under pressure from the clubs too, because they’re worried so that [Aubameyang] should go back to Arsenal and Mario [Lemina] back to Nice.”

“As you know, he’s a key player for Arsenal, although he’s going through a tough period at the moment. 

“We still have to report to clubs. And when a player’s health is affected and as you know, they are paid by the club, we have to be reasonable at some point.”

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Aubameyang has not featured for Arsenal in the five games leading up to his departure for the AFCON games. He was stripped of the club captaincy after returning late from a personal trip. The tensions between Arteta and the player has been present ever since.

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