With Arsenal gearing up for Arsene Wenger’s final game in charge, a fast-paced managerial search, and what should be a busy summer transfer window, this is not the news you expect to hear out of the club right now. Yet, according to the Islington Gazette, two youth coaches, U-23 manager Steve Gatting and his assistant Carl Laraman, have been placed on a leave of absence over accusations of bullying from players.
Gatting and Laraman were not present for the U-23 team’s match against Porto on Tuesday, raising eyebrows, especially considering it was the Premier League International Cup final, which Arsenal lost 1-0.
The Gazette had it confirmed from an “Arsenal spokesman” that two coaches had been suspended by the club, though Gatting and Laraman were not named by that particular source. However, a “well-placed source inside the club” told the Gazette that it was indeed Gatting and Laraman, and that the pair had been accused of bullying by players.
According to the report, there is nothing at this point that suggests Arsene Wenger had any knowledge of the allegations.
Interestingly, the story initially claimed that 18-year old Marcus McGuane, who moved to Barcelona B in a surprising transfer back in January, had left Arsenal because of the bullying.
McGuane responded on Twitter shortly after the article was published, denying the claim.
In relation to an article published by Islington Gazette - I have not been involved in any investigation nor made any complaint about the coaches concerned. I had a wonderful 12 years at Arsenal. The article is inaccurate and misleading. My name has been removed from the article.— Marcus McGuane (@marcusmcguane58) May 11, 2018
Even if the Gazette had this piece of information wrong, this remains a developing story and a sensitive topic that will surely get more attention in the near future. We’ll have more on this if further news breaks.