Mikel Arteta refused to confirm whether Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had broken Covid-19 protocols by getting a new tattoo but insisted the Arsenal skipper would be dealt with internally if he was found to have done so.
Pictures and footage emerged last week which appeared to show the 31-year-old had been given a new inking by Spanish tattoo artist Alejandro Nicolas Bernal.
The images initially appeared on Bernal’s Instagram story, but it was unclear when and where Aubameyang had been given the new tattoo and whether Bernal was part of the Gabon international’s Covid bubble.Article continues below
But speaking at his press conference ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League tie with Benfica, Arteta would not confirm whether any rules were found to have been broken.
What did Arteta say?
When asked about the situation with Aubameyang, the Arsenal boss said: “Whatever we do with our players, we keep it internal.
“It’s true that a lot of the members of our squad have extended families at home and if a player does something that is not within the regulations obviously, the club acts immediately but always privately.
“We tried to advise every player and make sure that they know all the rules and that we have to stick to those rules all the time. If someone doesn’t do it, obviously we have to act immediately.
“Again, I cannot tell you who every player lives with, but we do and when somebody does something you shouldn’t be doing, obviously it’s going to get found out from us and there will be consequences. And if not, there won’t be.”
Has Aubameyang travelled with the squad to Rome?
Aubameyang has flown out to Italy with the rest of the squad for Thursday night’s Europa League tie against Benfica.
The first leg of the last-32 clash had been switched from Lisbon to Rome due to the coronavirus pandemic, while the second leg will be played in Athens instead of north London.
In a boost to Arsenal, Kieran Tierney has also travelled with the squad after recovering from a knee injury, but midfielder Thomas Partey remains sidelined with a hamstring problem.
“Thomas didn’t travel,” said Arteta. “He is not there yet. He is still training individually.
“Kieran has had one session with us and he is part of the squad.”
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