LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal are not sure if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be ready to play in their Premier League home clash with Manchester United on Saturday after the striker missed two games due to his mother's illness, manager Mikel Arteta said on Thursday.
Aubameyang pulled out of Arsenal's FA Cup fourth-round defeat at Southampton last weekend and was also absent from their 3-1 league win over the same opponents on Tuesday.
Arteta was asked about the Gabon forward's availability after the 31-year-old thanked Arsenal for their support and had said he would return home ahead of the United game.
"I don't know. I spoke with him yesterday. Things are looking better at the moment but we're going to have to wait and see," Arteta told a news conference.
"He's our captain and one of the most important players. We are doing everything we can to have him as quickly as possible.
"But understanding that he's been through difficult days that he had to support his family. We were here to support him as well with the time that he needed to get that sorted."
Arsenal on Wednesday signed Real Madrid midfielder Odegaard on loan until the end of the season and Arteta also suggested the Norwegian may need more time to build his fitness.
"We believe he's got some special qualities that we need that we have been missing. Now we have to give him a little bit of time," Arteta said.
"He hasn't played that many minutes in Madrid, but he's been training hard. He looks so excited, as we are, to have another big talent in our club.
"He's a specialist to play in the pockets. To be in the number eight or 10 positions. He can play off the sides... He has the capacity to create chances and score goals."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)