Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has released a defiant social media post lashing out at claims team-mates were disgruntled with his links to YouTube fan channel AFTV.
The 30-year-old had touched down in Gabon on Monday to report for international duty, and was visibly angered by reports highlighting the apparent tension between the striker and fellow stars at the club.
The Instagram story stated: ‘I have arrived in Gabon and heard a lot of b*******. I talk with who I want, whenever I want, and if somebody’s not happy with it… you already know,’ and was followed by the middle finger emoji.
Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has hit out at critics of his links to fan channel AFTV
The striker was handed the armband last week after manager Unai Emery decided to strip Granit Xhaka of the captaincy following his furious bust-up with supporters.
Aubameyang, who is popular among fans and team-mates alike after scoring 50 goals in 78 games since joining the club in January 2018, was next in Emery’s leadership group, ahead of Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil.
New captain Aubameyang (left) poses with AFTV contributor and online influencer Troopz
Aubameyang wears the captain’s armband during Arsenal’s defeat by Leicester on Saturday
According to the same report, Aubameyang has developed a rapport with the YouTube channel, on which fans air their views on the club.
He has appeared to like a number of their posts on Instagram, including one in June which criticised Emery and another in September which demanded Xhaka be sold.
It is said that staff at the club believe AFTV, which has over a million subscribers, has contributed to negativity shown towards the club, its owner Stan Kroenke and certain players.
A source told The Athletic that the former Borussia Dortmund man had been ‘so smart’ in becoming close with the channel as he has made himself almost impossible to criticise.
That – and his activity on Instagram – is said to have ‘irritated’ some of Aubameyang’s team-mates at a crucial time, with the Gunners facing an uphill battle to qualify for the Champions League.
AFTV, which was formerly known as Arsenal Fan TV, has over one million YouTube subscribers
Aubameyang’s promotion to captain has reportedly ‘irritated’ some of his team-mates
The report also claims that the striker has been urged to end his relationship with Troopz, who is one of AFTV’s biggest and most recognisable contributors.
He has reportedly invited Troopz, who last week posted a picture of himself with the striker along with the caption ‘My captain’, to watch games from his executive box.
Despite tensions over his relationship with AFTV, Arsenal are said to be keen to extend the forward’s contract before it expires at the end of next season.
Aubameyang, however, is willing to wait to see how this season goes before committing his future to the club.