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Ill Aubameyang a doubt for Arsenal debut

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is fighting to be fit for his Arsenal debut due to illness © AFP/File / John MACDOUGALL

LONDON, United Kingdom, Feb 2Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger may be forced to wait before handing club record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang his debut after the Gabon striker missed training on Friday due to illness.

Aubameyang joined the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund in a £56 million switch on Wednesday, but may be forced to sit out Saturday’s visit of Everton.

“Aubameyang was sick, so we will assess him,” said Wenger on Friday.

Arsenal are hoping Aubameyang can reignite his prolific partnership with former Dortmund teammate Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who also joined from Manchester United last month as part of the deal that took Alexis Sanchez to Old Trafford.

An unusually busy transfer window for Wenger also saw Olivier Giroud join Chelsea, while Theo Walcott could quickly come back to haunt the side he played with for over a decade when he returns to the Emirates in an Everton shirt.

Out-of-favour Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi joined Dortmund to complete a striker swap triangle between the two London sides and the German giants.

“It was difficult because of course Dortmund needed a replacement,” added Wenger on the drawn-out deal for Aubameyang.

“It was a cryptic deal because Giroud went to Chelsea and Batshuayi went to Dortmund. That is why it was short in time and tense until the end.”

A frantic few days was rounded off when German playmaker Mesut Ozil ended speculation over his future by signing a new three-year deal on Thursday.

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“Many predicted Ozil would not commit but it is good news for Arsenal,” said Wenger.

“The fact you can keep a player of that calibre is good news.”

However, Wenger admitted he didn’t get all he wished for in the January window as Arsenal’s leaky defence went unstrengthened despite persistent rumours of a bid for West Brom’s Jonny Evans.

No side in the top eight of the Premier League has conceded more goals than Arsenal’s 34 this season and their defensive frailties were again clear as they lost 3-1 at relegation threatened Swansea on Tuesday night.

“I couldn’t do everything. I wanted to do more,” added Wenger.

“Our defensive numbers are not good enough. That’s where we needed some possible strengthening as well.

“We have to improve our defensive numbers. We want to go in the top four. We have to improve our offensive numbers and defensive numbers.”

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