Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was dropped for Borussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga match with Wolfsburg for missing a key team meeting.
The striker was banned by his club for “disciplinary reasons” for the second time this season.
Dortmund said on Twitter he had been left out of the squad for Sunday’s home clash with the Wolves, their first game back after the winter break.
The sought-after 28-year-old was also banned for a match in November, and this latest indiscretion has seen rumours linking him with Arsenal intensify.
Sky Sports’ Guillem Balague was one of many sources suggesting the Gunners could make their move this month.
Head coach Peter Stoger revealed this latest sanction was imposed after Aubameyang failed to turn up for “a very important team meeting in which every player – including the injured ones – participated”.
“We talked about team spirit and our objectives,” Stoger was quoted by Sport Bild as telling Sky television.
“If he doesn’t want to be there, then someone else is going to play.
“We believe he is not properly focused and that’s why he is missing today.”
Stoger said Aubameyang was “a little surprised” to be dropped.
The boss added: “He hinted briefly that he had forgotten the appointment, but the meeting was announced everywhere and several times.
“But anyone who knows me is aware that I am not vindictive. He can be back in action next week.”
The club’s sporting director Michael Zorc admitted in December that the striker’s poor time-keeping was a problem.
Aubameyang is Dortmund’s star turn, with 31 Bundesliga goals last season and 13 in 15 games so far this term.
He is been repeatedly linked with a host of clubs across Europe and speculation about his future will no doubt surface again with the transfer window open.