Mesut Ozil has refused to join Arsenal’s players in taking a 12.5 per cent pay cut.
Ozil, who is the club’s highest earner on £350,000-a-week, has made it clear he may be willing to do it in the future but wanted to see the full financial impact of the coronavirus and did not want to rush into a decision.
It is understood that Ozil is one of three players in the first team squad not to accept the pay cut.
Ozil has made it clear he respects the other players and the group decision – but has urged them to respect his.
Ozil’s agent Dr Erkut Sogut declined to comment but recently said that players should not accept pay cuts
Sogut said earlier this month: “Deferral is an option but not to agree a cut today when the clubs may still make the same profit as last year.
“What the exact financial impact is on the clubs, we can see three to six months later – but we can’t see it today.”
The Professional Footballers’ Association has also insisted Premier League clubs should only ask for deferrals.
Arsenal were contacted for comment but refused to discuss what they regard as the players’ private business.
© Getty Images Arteta played a key role in negotiations with players
The Gunners have become the first club to agree cuts with their players after ten days of intensive talks which initially saw the squad refuse to take a reduction in wages.
They will take a 12.5 per cent drop for 12 months until March next year.
However, Arsenal will repay the money in full if they qualify for the Champions League either this season or the next and will also pay the players a £100,000 bonus.
Any player who is sold for a profit will have their money refunded.
They will get 7.5 per cent back if they reach the Europa League but nothing if they do not get into Europe.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta played a key role in negotiations with the players, his video conference call last Wednesday helping to convince the squad that the club needed financial help.
Arteta himself has also agreed to a cut and the club’s 14 strong executive committee have also agreed to take a 30 per cent reduction.
Arsenal issued a statement which read: “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.
© Everton FC via Getty Images Arsenal confirmed the pay cuts on Monday
“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.
© ASSOCIATED PRESS Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil vies for the ball with West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell during the Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and West Ham at the Emirates Stadium in London, Saturday, March 7, 2020.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
“The resulting savings will help cover some of the financial risks we have this season in relation to our match day 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.”
Sogut, in an interview on the Steilcast podcast, added: “It is not enough for a club to present a proposal to one member of the first team squad and then asked them to go to the rest of the squad an get their consent to do it.
“That is not how individual contract negotiations should take place. “A club may even ask a first team manager to negotiate with players and this may influence some, particularly younger players or those on the fringe who fear there might be personal repercussions for him if he does not agree.
““In those circumstances it could be questionable that any consent from the players would be legally binding anyway as some players are not in a position to give true consent if they are under pressure to do so.”