April 21 – German midfielder Mezut Ozil, who has long divided opinion on the field, is reported to be one of three Arsenal players to have rejected taking a pay-cut after the club became the first to agree a virtual across-the-board wage reduction as a result of Covid-19.
Unconfirmed English media reports have not named the other two players, with the majority having agreed, along with manager Mikel Arteta, “to help cover some of the financial risks” posed by the outbreak.
Ozil, who has won 92 caps for Germany, is known to be highly generous in donating to a number of charities.
But the reports say the 31-year-old, who is Arsenal’s highest earner on around £350,000 a week, opted for more clarity over the financial consequences on clubs before making a decision on a pay cut. He would still take home more than £306,000 per week before tax if he were to agree to the salary reduction but apparently wants to see the ‘full financial impact’
Arsenal are the first Premier League club to agree on salary reductions, with Southampton and West Ham having agreed wage deferrals with their squads.
In a 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.
“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.”
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