Mikel Arteta provides key update on Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Mikel Arteta has confirmed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has returned to light training and is confident he will play for Arsenal again this season.
Aubameyang is currently on the sidelines, having contracted malaria while on international duty with Gabon back in March.
He actually played the next two games, before being struck down with the illness, with the player himself detailing the severity of the issue.
Arsenal will be without both he and Alexandre Lacazette when they face Everton on Friday, but the Gunners boss has revealed that he has returned to London Colney for the first time.
"I have spoken to him many times," Arteta told Sky Sports News on Thursday. "He was at the training ground yesterday for the first time.
"He's still being checked by the doctors, it's taking him a while. It's a difficult disease to go through.
“He had some tough moments and we just want to give him every single tool to make him available and fit as quick as possible, because we need him."
Asked if the club captain could return before the end of the season, Arteta added: "Well I hope so.
“The way he was looking yesterday, he was in a much better place and hopefully once he has started to feel better with more and he regains a bit of the weight that he's lost, he's going to be able to train and at that moment with the desire that he has to be back, I'm pretty positive that that will be the case."
It’s been tumultuous week off the pitch after Arsenal agrees to join the European Super League, only to subsequently leave due to fan backlash.
Arteta was asked whether his players would be distracted by the furore over the proposals, after both Chelsea and Liverpool dropped points in the immediate aftermath.
“Well, I will try to prepare the team in the best possible way so that isn’t the case,” he explained.
“We know that we might have a situation outside the stadium because our fans want to express their feelings, and our job is to try to make the team as focused as possible just to perform on the pitch.”
The match with Everton kicks off a pivotal week for Arteta’s men, who will face Villarreal in the first leg of their Europa League semi final.
But the Spaniard has claimed it’s all eyes on the Toffees despite midweek’s game offering a better chance of securing European football next season.
“No, I want to focus just on Everton,” he said. “We still have more than 5 days to prepare the game and how we get there it will depend on how well we do against Everton and that’s the only focus for the team.”
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