Monday Jun 08, 2020. 09:00
Arsenal legend Martin Keown has called on the club to strip Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of the captaincy.
The 30-year-old striker has been linked with a move away from the Premier League giants – Aubameyang’s contract runs out at the end of the 2020-21 season and he has yet to agree an extension at the Emirates Stadium.
Keown told talkSPORT: “I don’t think he will [sign a new deal]. I think he’ll leave with a heavy heart.
“I think he’s the nearest thing I have seen to Thierry Henry at the football club and the club will have to make swift decisions. They can’t allow what happened a few years ago with the transfers just going on and on. The club needs direction.”
The former England international added: “It’s a real concern for Arsenal, recently with [Mesut] Ozil, they lost [Aaron] Ramsey, they lost [Alexis] Sanchez.
“We’re hearing now that, unlike [Unai] Emery who wasn’t involved apparently in the Ramsey situation, him leaving, he’s [Arteta] getting involved.
“I think the message needs to be to the player ‘look, we can’t have you captaining the club if there’s uncertainty around your contract’, in the last year of his contract, that can’t be allowed to happen.
“Whether you keep him, whether you don’t, that all depends on the monetary side.
“What are they going to get? What are the offers? Because they do need to look at it and what it means to them to break into the Champions League, to maybe challenge for a Premier League.
“So if they’re only going to get an offer of £20m-£30m then you have to consider whether you’re going to keep him there or not and whether the player has got the mental capacity to stay, but he can’t be captain because the message is the wrong one to the rest of the group.”