Arsenal

Mikel Arteta press conference: Aubameyang regrets; Smith Rowe's future; Saliba praise

Toby Cudworth
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal beat Crystal Palace on the opening day of the Premier League season
Mikel Arteta's Arsenal beat Crystal Palace on the opening day of the Premier League season / Mike Hewitt/GettyImages
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Mikel Arteta has again insisted that he put the best interests of Arsenal first when handling former captain Pierre-Emerick Aubayemang.

The Spaniard was asked about his relationship with Aubameyang at his weekly press conference, this time held ahead of Saturday's clash with Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium.

Aubameyang's name come up again amid interest of a possible return to the Premier League, with rivals Chelsea, and Arteta was also grilled about the club's change of culture - that was heavily referenced in the All or Nothing documentary - Emile Smith Rowe's lack of starting minutes and the praise directed towards William Saliba.

Here's what the Arsenal boss had to say.


Arsenal's culture

Emile Smith Rowe, Ben White, Mikel Arteta, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney at the All or Nothing premiere
Emile Smith Rowe, Ben White, Mikel Arteta, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Kieran Tierney at the All or Nothing premiere / Lia Toby/GettyImages

Are you content after what was seen on the All or Nothing documentary?

"I am really happy with where we are, the people we have at the club and what we’re building. I could not be happier with that."

How and why is the culture different?

"It was the club’s vision to completely change that and create and install (a culture) that makes people who are working at the club proud and accountable for their jobs. I think we have that and I think you can see that level of commitment and passion transmitted to our supporters. That’s why there’s such a unity at the club."


Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang warms up for Barcelona
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with Chelsea / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Regrets about how the situation was handled?

"Listen, it’s a long time since that happened. I cannot go back each time there is a series. I have made my comments on that. I was really clear and honest with my opinion. What has been done has always been done to defend the club and put it in the best possible position and be always as clear as honest and consistent as we can.

"Auba is an exceptional player. He did so much for us. He was our captain and I think we have to be grateful, very grateful as well, for what he did for this club."

Would Aubameyang get a good reception if he joined Chelsea?

"I hope he does because I think he deserves that. There are moments in life, there are moments in your career, and sometimes the trajectory or the objective of each individual is different to the clubs - and you have to respect that."


William Saliba

Is it hard to ground a player being widely praised?

"I think he has his feet on the ground, that is not going to be an issue. Obviously we have talked about the expectation that he already created before joining the club, when he was on loan.

"He is very aware that everything that was happening around him and we have tried to manage that internally in a really quiet way and I think it is better to stay like this for him because he is 21 years of age and he has played one Premier League match."

Will the dressing room help?

"Yes, the players really like him because he has come really determined, a focused and humble boy who wants to take the club forward. He is so willing to be talked through anything you want to talk about, be coached and his aim is to get better and get the team better and that is about it."


Emile Smith Rowe

Emile Smith Rowe lost his starting place at Arsenal midway through last season
Emile Smith Rowe lost his starting place at Arsenal midway through last season / Visionhaus/GettyImages

How can he win his place back in the Arsenal starting 11?

"He needs to stay fit, train well and perform at the level he’s able to perform at. When he does that it’s really difficult not to pick him.

"The first impression was really positive [after he returned from his loan spell]. His body language, his presence and the confidence he was acting with was very mature."

Will he get a new contract at Arsenal?

"We will address all these issues like we always do, that is why the board and Edu will be preparing all the scenarios we can possibly face. We want players to be happy here and be valued but we have just started the season."


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