Peter Stoger has admitted that the Gabon international declined to attend team meetings during his final weeks at the club
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed team meetings and refused to run throughout training as he sought to force through his £56 million ($73.5m) change from Borussia Dortmund to Arsenal, according to the Bundesliga side’s former coach.
Peter Stoger took over at Dortmund in December 2017 following the sacking of Peter Bosz, by which time Aubameyang was being seriously linked with a move away from the club during the January transfer window.
The Gabon international has made a promising start to life in north London, recording 19 goals in 26 appearances as the club had made its transition to life under Unai Emery, but Stoger says he was always fighting a losing battle to keep Aubameyang in Germany.
“He left me no other choice,” the Austrian told Sport Bild .
“He trained well four days of the week. But to underline his wish for a transfer, he skipped team meetings before games or refused to run during the final training.
“We did our best to keep him for at least another half a year, but Auba wasn’t ready for that.”
Aubameyang had been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga before joining the Gunners.
In 2015 he was heavily tipped to be on the verge of moving to Real Madrid but the switch never materialised, and the former AC Milan forward went onto have his most prolific season the following year, netting 40 goals in all competitions during 2016-17.
Aubameyang’s goals helped Emery’s side to 11 consecutive wins in the early weeks of the season, with Sunday’s strike in their 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace – his seventh in the league this season – moving him level with Eden Hazard at the front of the race for the Premier League Golden Boot
“Honestly, I got along well with him although he kept me pretty busy for four weeks” said Stoger, who stepped down at Dortmund in the summer after guiding the side to fourth in the Bundesliga.
“But Auba personally apologised to me before joining Arsenal.
“He told me that his behaviour had nothing to do with my person and that he had felt my support.”
Arsenal will be hopeful they will not need to call Aubameyang into action when they host Blackpool in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, instead giving him some rest ahead of Saturday’s crunch clash with Liverpool.