Mikel Arteta responds to claims Aubameyang is unhappy in Arsenal role

Mikel Arteta has insisted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is happy with his role at Arsenal after the forward's brother told the manager to stop playing him as a winger.

Willy Aubameyang slammed Arteta in an Instagram Live video earlier this week over his decision not to play the Gabon international in the No9 role for the Gunners.

Aubameyang has been played on the left by both Arteta and his predecessor Unai Emery, and did so again during Arsenal's 1-1 draw with Leicester on Tuesday.

However, the 31-year-old played through the middle after Eddie Nketiah was sent off for a high challenge on James Justin, four minutes after coming on to replace Alexandre Lacazette.

And while Arteta is open to playing Aubameyang as a centre forward, the Gunners boss says playing Aubameyang on the flank gives his side balance in attack.

"Yeah, he’s played there tonight unfortunately with 10 men, it’s a completely different game," Arteta said after the draw, in quotes reported by Metro.

"We will look at the options that we have up front and how we can be a little bit diverse and have different options.

"But obviously we will wait to see the suspension with Eddie and how long it is, and we will adapt."

Aubameyang scored against Leicester to take his tally to 20 Premier League goals this season, placing him second in the race for the Premier League's Golden Boot behind Jamie Vardy, who was also on target on Tuesday.

Asked if playing on the left could affect his chances of winning the award which he shared with Liverpool duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane last term, Arteta said: "I don't know.

"We need to put as much firepower in the team as possible without losing our balance.

"He’s always scored a lot of goals from that position, he’s done it all his career as well. We know he can play as a No.9, but at the moment the balance of the team is better like this.

Asked if felt Aubameyang ws happy to play anywhere because of their relationship, Arteta replied: "I don’t think it’s about the relationship, it’s about the type of player he is.

"He is a team player. And you can ask him to play anywhere and he’s happy to take it.

"Obviously he would prefer to play somewhere all the time, but he’s happy and you see the effort he puts in every game."

Aubameyang is currently involved in contract negotiations after entering the final year of his Gunners deal.

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His brother Willy weighed in on the striker's role at the Emirates earlier this week, saying: "I like Mikel, he’s a good coach.

"He’s good but I don’t like when he puts my brother on the left, I don’t like this.

"I like when he plays striker."

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