Arsenal star Mesut Ozil has reportedly refused the club’s request to take a pay cut on his £350,000-a-week wages to ease the Gunners’ financial worries during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Gunners released a statement on Monday afternoon to confirm that the first team squad and Mikel Arteta’s coaching staff had agreed to a 12.5% pay cut for the next 12 months.
The agreement states that the club would repay the money in full if Arsenal qualify for the Champions League this season or next, while all players would receive a £100,000 bonus for finishing in the top four.
Qualification for the Europa League would see the squad reimbursed 7.5% of their pay cut, while any player sold for profit would have his money refunded.
However, Ozil was one of three players that refused to the agreement, according to the Daily Mail. The German is said to be willing to defer his wages and will sacrifice a greater percentage than the 12.5% to do so but at this moment in time he will not take a pay cut.
The former Real Madrid star is said to want to see the full financial impact of the pandemic before making a decision. Ozil has reportedly made it apparent that he is willing to take a pay cut in the future but not until the landscape is clearer.
The 31-year-old already donates a significant amount of his salary to charity each month and is an ambassador for a handful of charities outside of football.
Arsenal statement on salary cuts
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.
Reductions of total annual earnings by 12.5 per cent will come into effect this month, with the contractual paperwork being completed in the coming days. If we meet specific targets in the seasons ahead, primarily linked to success on the pitch, the club will repay agreed amounts.
We will be able to make those repayments as hitting these targets, which the players can directly influence, will mean our financial position will be stronger. The agreement is based on the assumption we will finish the season 2019/20 and receive the full broadcasting revenues.
The resulting savings will help cover some of the financial risks we have this season in relation to our matchday and commercial income. We are proud and grateful to our players and staff for pulling together to support our club, our people and our community in these unprecedented times which are some of the most challenging we have faced in our history.
Reports circulated earlier in the day that a minority of players had rejected the club’s proposal and it’s unclear who the other two players are that reportedly joined Ozil in refusing.
The German is Arsenal’s highest earner after signing a bumper new deal in 2018 worth £16.8m-a-year before tax.