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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returns to Arsenal early

Gabon have sent the striker back to London for further medical evaluation.

Everton v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Gabon have sent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back to Arsenal and London to undergo additional medical evaluation following the “cardiac issue” / “heart lesions” seemingly related to his recent positive COVID test that kept him out of the AFCON opener. The heart problem was detected prior to Gabon’s 1-1 draw with Ghana, which made him unavailable for that match too. Aubameyang returns to the club without appearing for his country at AFCON despite returning to Gabon training and reportedly feeling fine.

Both Gabon’s doctors and Arsenal’s, who had been in contact with Aubameyang and the national team medical staff per reports, were initially unconcerned about the results of his scan. It seems that, at least initially, the plan was for both Aubameyang and Mario Lemina to remain with the team in the hope of contributing at some point during AFCON.

Clearly something has changed since then. Said Gabon manager Patrice Neveu:

Since yesterday, the decision was taken to send them [Aubameyang and Lemina] home to their club. We can’t judge it here [in Cameroon], we can’t assess the pathology of Covid here. It’s important that Mario returns to Nice and Pierre returns to Arsenal. It’s a decision that we’ve taken among ourselves.

There is no use speculating as to what prompted the change in course because it could be anything from practical (they won’t pass fitness in time to play) to precautionary to medically-motivated.

We hope that both Aubameyang and Lemina have a speedy, uneventful recovery.