Mesut Ozil has claimed Arsenal’s players were rushed into a decision on taking pay cuts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ozil currently earns 18.2 million Pounds a year salary at Arsenal.
Arsenal’s squad initially declined to take a 12.5 per cent wage reduction for 12 months but after head coach Mikel Arteta reportedly intervened, the players, bar Ozil, agreed to accept the club’s proposal.
However, Arsenal last week announced they intended to make 55 staff members redundant, with the players said to be angered by the decision.
Ozil, who has a year left to run on his contract at Emirates Stadium, stated he did not agree to the pay cut as he felt the club forced the players into making a snap judgement.
“As players, we all wanted to contribute,” Ozil told The Athletic.
“But we needed more information and many questions were unanswered. Everyone was fine with a deferral while there was so much uncertainty – I would have been OK to take a bigger share – and then a cut if required, once the football and financial outlook was clearer. But we were rushed into it without proper consultation.
“For anyone in this situation, you have a right to know everything, to understand why it is happening and where the money is going.
“But we didn’t get enough details, we just had to give a decision. It was far too quick for something so important and there was a lot of pressure.
“This was not fair, especially for the young guys, and I refused. I had a baby at home and have commitments to my family here, in Turkey and in Germany; to my charities, too, and also a new project we started to support people in London that was from the heart and not for publicity.”
Ozil was reportedly the only player in the squad to refuse to decrease his salary, but he has claimed that was not the case.
“People who know me know exactly how generous I am and, as far as I’m aware, I was not the only player who rejected the cut in the end, but only my name came out,” he said.
“I guess that’s because it is me and people have been trying for two years to destroy me, to make me unhappy, to push an agenda they hope will turn the supporters against me and paint a picture that is not true.”
Ozil featured in every Premier League match under Arteta up until March, yet the playmaker did not make a single appearance in any competition following the restart.
“Possibly the decision affected my chances on the pitch, I don’t know,” Ozil said. “But I’m not afraid to stand up for what I feel is right, and when you see what has happened now with the jobs, maybe I was.”
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