Arsene Wenger has defended Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang amid suggestions the striker did not give his all for Borussia Dortmund prior to his recent move to Arsenal.
The German club’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has claimed that Aubameyang was “withholding performances’ while trying to force a move.
The player was suspended by Dortmund last season for making an unsanctioned trip to Milan and last month he was banned by the club for missing a team meeting.
However, Gunners boss Wenger insisted he does not believe Aubameyang deliberately underperformed before his switch to north London.
“I don’t believe so. If you look at the history, he played only one game – they suspended him for two games, one before the (winter) break and one after the break,” Gunners boss Wenger said at a press conference on Thursday.
“He played only one game, where they drew 2-2 with Werder Bremen, and maybe he was not completely ready physically to perform at his best. But I don’t believe he didn’t want to perform.”
Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut as they beat Everton 5-1 at the Emirates Stadium, where summer signing Alexandre Lacazette did not feature.
Asked if Lacazette understood why he had been overlooked, Wenger said: “You do not have to understand too much.
“What you want is that everybody focuses to win the game whether they start the game or not.
“You don’t really want players too much to understand (why they’re not playing). I agree completely with them, they want to play and that is natural and normal.”