In Brief

Arsenal confirm wage deal but Mesut Ozil refuses 12.5% cut

German is one of three first-team players who have reportedly rejected the deal

Arsenal’s first-team players and head coach Mikel Arteta have agreed a pay cut to help the club through the financial turbulence caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a statement the Gunners, the first Premier League outfit to take a pay cut as opposed to a wage deferral, explained that the “voluntary agreement” entails the squad accepting a 12.5% reduction in their annual wages. 

BBC Sport adds that the club’s core coaching staff are also included in the cutbacks while 14 members of the executive committee have also agreed to take a 30% reduction.

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Ozil off message

However, the Daily Mirror alleges that three players have refused to accept the deal, and one of those is the club’s biggest earner, Mesut Ozil. 

The German midfielder pockets £350,000-a-week but the Mirror claims he is “one of three Arsenal players to reject the club’s 12.5% pay cut”. The identities of the other two players are not known.

Ozil’s agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, refused to comment on the allegations but earlier this month he declared himself opposed to wage cuts for players “when the clubs may still make the same profit as last year”.

Respect

The Mirror says that Ozil may agree to the proposal in the coming weeks but wants more time to see the “full financial impact of the coronavirus”. 

Only then will he make a final decision but in the meantime he has apparently asked his team-mates to “respect” his decision as he does theirs to sign up to the deal.

That deal involves the players taking a 12.5% drop in wages until March next year. The money will be reimbursed if the Gunners qualify for the Champions League either this season or the next and they will also receive a £100,000 bonus for their achievement.

Furthermore, any player who is sold during this time will have their money refunded. They will receive 7.5% back if they reach the Europa League.  

Mikel’s the man

According to the Mirror, Arsenal boss Arteta “played a key role in negotiations with the players”, and it was his performance in a video conference last Wednesday that convinced them of the need to sign up to the scheme to help out the club in a worrying period of financial uncertainty.

In the statement, Arsenal said: “We are pleased to announce that we have reached a voluntary agreement with our first-team players, head coach and core coaching staff to help support the club at this critical time. The move follows positive and constructive discussions.

“In these conversations there has been a clear appreciation of the gravity of the current situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and a strong desire for players and staff to show their backing for the Arsenal family.”

Today’s back pages

Liverpool vs. Atletico Madrid tie linked to coronavirus spread

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