Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penned an emotional farewell message to the Arsenal supporters after the club confirmed that they had parted ways with the striker by mutual consent. The Gabonese forward last played for the Gunners on Dec. 6 and was subsequently stripped of the club captaincy following a disciplinary breach.

Mikel Arteta has come under heavy criticism for first ostracising the club's top striker, and then offloading him to Barcelona during the January transfer window without bringing in a replacement. However, the Gunners boss has received backing from former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit, who feels it was the right move as Aubameyang has not been the same player since signing his new £350,000-a-week deal last year.

The 32-year-old managed just 10 goals in the Premier League in 29 games last season, and a paltry four in 14 games this season. Aubameyang admitted that "it hurt" to leave the club without having a chance to say goodbye to the fans, but made it clear that he has no bad feelings towards the north London club where he spent four years.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates after scoring against Manchester United Shaun Botterill/POOL

"To the Arsenal fans, thank you for making London home for myself and my family for the past four years," Aubameyang wrote on Instagram. "I have always been 100 per cent focused and committed on doing everything I can for this club which is why leaving without a real goodbye hurts - but that is football."

Arteta is certain to be questioned about his decision to let Aubameyang leave every time Arsenal fail to win a game or score a goal in the second-half of the campaign. However, Petit believes the manager made the right decision and sent a clear message to the dressing about the way forward.

"Mikel Arteta did exactly what everyone expected with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang," Petit told Gambling.com. "I don't want to show disrespect for Aubameyang, because I believe he is a great player. But, for the last few months he hasn't been himself."

"I believe Arteta made the right decision on Aubameyang and he made his mark in the dressing room with the choice he made," he added. "To leave your captain out of a game and then put him on the transfer market is a very strong message to your dressing room."

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta is searching for answers at Arsenal Jon Super/POOL