Mikel Arteta has discussed the 'unity and the spirit' in the Arsenal squad following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's acrimonious departure from the club.
The forward left by mutual consent on Tuesday following a tumultuous final 18 months at the Emirates Stadium.
Key to the dramatic dip in form was, reportedly, the forward's difficult relationship with Arsenal manager Arteta. Speaking after his move to Barcelona, Aubameyang seemed to confirm this. When asked if he had issues with the Spaniard, he replied:
"Yeah, I think it was just with him. I can't say much, he wasn't happy, I stayed calm and that's it."
Since the forward's departure Arsenal have been conducting warm-weather training in Dubai, and in an interview with the club's official website Arteta seemed to take a sly dig at Aubameyang by stating that the squad is currently unified:
“We had a break of two weeks and thought of the best way to maximise it, and felt the best way was to stay together for a week or so in a different environment, but with clear objectives for this week. Not only physically but mentally, it’s been a tough season and a tough few years. We wanted to take this opportunity to get a few things from it.
“The first thing, the training camp in these conditions is beautiful. We want to keep improving the efficiency of our game model and it’s a beautiful place to do it. The second one is to set clear objectives for what we want to do at the end of the season. We have 17 games to finish, how we are going to do it and what we want to achieve in those games.
“The third one was about building the unity and the spirit that is in the group and that has to be maintained. There’s no better way to do it not only with the players but as well with the families because they are a big part of what we do and we need them on board to keep pushing every day.”