What Arsenal stars think of Mesut Ozil after German refused 12.5 per cent wage cut

Mesut Ozil’s Arsenal team-mates are completely accepting of the fact he has not joined in with their 12.5 pay reduction during the coronavirus crisis.

Twenty-four members of Arsenal’s 27 first-team squad have accepted the wage cut, which will be in place between April 2020 and March 2021 dependent on on-pitch achievements.

But Ozil is one of three players who said no to the measures, which will shave Arsenal £25million off of their £230m wage bill if all players take part.

With revenues down and costs still high, Arsenal stressed the need for their squad to agree to the cut – although rival clubs have preferred deferrals – so that they can better plan out the next 12 months.

And after Mikel Arteta personally intervened and told the squad via conference call the thinking behind Arsenal’s request, an agreement was reached.

But while Ozil has been heavily criticised publicly for not being on the same page as the rest of Arteta’s team, those within the squad accept his stance.

That’s according to the Daily Mirror, who say Arsenal are hopeful of reaching an agreement with the other two unknown players not to agree a cut.

Ozil, whose £350,000-a-week wages make him Arsenal’s highest-paid player, wants to first learn the full financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic before accepting.

The Professional Footballers’ Association have advised players only to accept deferrals, which would mean them getting their money back at a later stage.

The Mirror add that Ozil has privately told his team-mates that he will accept a deferral and could even accept a bigger pay cut than 12.5 per cent in the future – but is not ready to do so yet.

But Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher believes Ozil scored “a massive PR own goal” by failing to take the same side as his team-mates.

The former Liverpool and England defender said: “His agent did him no favours when he came out about three or four weeks ago and was arguing the fact about waiting to see how the coronavirus hits these clubs financially.


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“I always felt this would be a problem, I’ve been here myself in a different situation where you’re trying to agree with 25 people in a dressing room – it’s never going to happen.

“I always thought there were two players, or two strands of players, who could maybe not fully engage with the rest of the squad in cuts or deferrals.

“Maybe a young lad who just got into the squad who didn’t have the revenue of other players or a player coming to the end of his contract who maybe hadn’t earned big money throughout his career.

“But the fact that the highest-paid player and possibly the biggest name at Arsenal has not gone with the rest of his team-mates, even if I was in Ozil’s position and I didn’t agree, I think the fact the rest of your team, the manager and people at the club have decided to be as one and make this decision, I think you have to go with it.

“Football is a team game, it’s not an individual sport. For someone like Ozil in that situation, I think he’s got to go with what the rest of the players are doing.

“As you say, it’s a massive PR own goal.

“I’m not going to have a go at him for the wages he’s earned – if you want to have a go at Ozil for the wages he’s got, blame the people who give him the contracts.

“We all, in every walk of life, try to earn as much money as we possibly can.

“But when a situation like this comes in and you’re together as a team in a dressing room, I think the highest-paid member and the biggest name in that dressing room should be one who almost sets the example.

“It hasn’t been a great PR success story since he had that contract so another massive PR own goal.”

As part of Arsenal’s agreement, the players will get all of their money reimbursed – plus a £100,000 bonus – if they qualify for the Champions League in the next two seasons.

If they were to win the European competition in 2021, they would all individually pocket a £500,000 bonus.

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