Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will not be eligible to play for Arsenal in the Europa League following his former club Borussia Dortmund’s demotion to the continent’s secondary tournament, and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has subsequently urged Uefa to scrap the rule which vastly hinders his squad selection.
The Gabonese striker joined Arsenal in January for a club-record fee but is now effectively cup-tied due to BVB’s involvement in the same competition as his current employers, and with summer acquisition Alexandre Lacazette supposedly being sidelined for up to 6 weeks following minor knee surgery, Wenger is somewhat strapped for offensive options.
Danny Welbeck is ultimately the only recognised forward available for European encounters as it stands, and with the north-Londoners preparing to battle Ostersunds FK in the last-32 of the Europa League on Thursday, ‘Le Prof’ is less than enthused with the predicament he finds himself facing on the eve of the tie’s first-leg in Sweden thanks to a statute which fails to make any ‘sense’.
The stumped French tactician – speaking to the media via a report published by Evening Standard – said:
“Unanimously, I believe that all the clubs agree now this rule has to disappear in Europe – especially because for example he played Dortmund, Dortmund has been reversed in the Europa League and he cannot play.
“When you look at the transfer amounts you spend now, that you have to spend £50m, £60m, £70m in the middle of the season, that the players cannot play doesn’t make sense. Unanimously everywhere in Europe now the clubs are against this rule.”
Further match day conundrums have also arisen for Wenger as it’s emerged that Petr Cech, Laurent Koscielny and Jack Wilshere have all been left out of the travelling fold.
As all three of the absent individuals have skippered the club this term, Wenger is unsure to whom will don the armband at the Jamtkraft Arena, although a strong, influential leader will certainly have to step up to the vacant plate.
“I haven’t thought about that,” he added. “It’s an interesting question I have to sort out tonight Mesut Ozil? It could be. I prefer more defensive player most of the time. We’ll see.”
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