Opinion – Arsenal pay cut fiasco could backfire big time

Arsenal was the first Premier League team to convince their players to take pay cuts to help the club, however, it was a decision that could do some serious damage, certainly in the short term.

The Gunners did that successfully, but it didn’t come without controversy and now we have Mesut Ozil, one of the players that rejected the proposal, under intense scrutiny for his stance on the issue.

I am one of those Arsenal fans who aren’t proud that we asked our players to take pay cuts, this shows to the public that we are struggling with money issues.

What happens now when we make a big-money signing in the summer? Won’t we have proven Ozil right that he shouldn’t have taken a pay cut?

In our bid to continue proving that we don’t have all the money in the world, does that also mean we lack the funds to make any significant signings when the transfer window opens?

Whatever choices the club makes from now on will be judged based on the decision to ask the players to take wage cuts.

I reckon that the club wants to use the money to make summer signings, however, we won’t be able to flex our financial muscles like we initially expected, not without looking morally bankrupt.

This is because every eye will be on teams that have either furloughed their staff or asked their players to take wage deferrals and that sadly includes us.

I wonder who came up with that idea, but I think it was a wrong move, especially if we plan to still splash the cash in the summer.

In better words, you cannot have your cake and eat it, you cannot ask the players to cough up and then go into the transfer window and spend £50 Million.

Which begs the question, have Arsenal screwed their own transfer plans because they went after the players for money?

An article by Jacob B

Tags pay-cut


  1. Chelsea tried to get their players to take a cut and Spurs tried too. Levy and Liverpool don’t forget tried to claim from the government so it’s not all rosy in their garden
    Let’s wait and see how well off the other PL clubs are when it comes to transfers later in the year. Not too many I think

    1. AJ
      I did reply to your post
      I hope you didn’t think I was referring to the chat you had with Ken because I wasn’t at all. Yours was a well mannered discussion
      In the past I have been horrified by how personal the subject of Ozil becomes and that was all I meant

  2. I am amazed that players are being so selfish. Players on 90, 100, 200, 350k p/w are all multi millionaires. They should all be taking a 90% pay cut. They can afford it. 3 months with out pay won’t hurt any of them. It’s ridiculous.
    Players should all receive 10k p/w until football starts again.
    Then when football does start they should be paid 50% of their salary all next season as the game recovers.
    Then in the 2021-2022 seasons get paid 75%.
    The poorest are going with out while the richest live in luxury. Its a disgrace.

  3. “I am one of those Arsenal fans who aren’t proud that we asked our players to take pay cuts, this shows to the public that we are struggling with money issues.”

    Not true. It’s a business decision mirrored across the vast majority of the business world in oder to offset inevitable losses to income. Less coming in + same going out = debt.

  4. It seems that the initial response that our club made the right decision, is now being looked at in a different light.

    Perhaps it would also be prudent to assess the reasoning behind the reported three players (not just one) diisquite regarding this issue?

    To date, no announcement has been forthcoming as to where this money has been allocated, or, indeed, how the club intends to use it – especially as kronkie has already said he will pay all staff during the lock down himself.

    Again I say, why didn’t we follow the Chelsea example
    , where their billionaire owner also guaranteed to pay his employees and let the players contribute to the NHS as they deemed fit.

    We are the fifth richest club in the Premier league and the only one who has held out the begging bowl in such a public way.

    An absolute disaster in both pr terms and, as Martin indicates, the signing and salaries of new players.

  5. It is very simple. All clubs need to cut their costs, if they are running a business and they aren’t one of the few clubs, that are just a hobby toy for some Russian or Arabian billionaire, who may be willing to “white wash” their money through football.
    Arsenal does not stand out negatively in any way, if you care to look at how the club has communicated very openly about the situation.

    1. @AndersS
      Business model in 21century is beyond ”cut their cost” . It is about Sustainable strategic plan. That is why it would be 8th wonder of the world for me, should ManU, be asking players to give the club alms.

      1. No business model has yet overcome the basic requirement that costs can’t be bigger than income in the long run…

  6. Sorry AnderS, I disagree completely!

    If our club have communicated in a very open way, why do you think that we still don’t know who the three reported players are who, supposedly, declined to participate?

    Have the club agreed or denied this is the case?

    Have they denied the reported allegation that our younger players were forced to accept their wage cuts following pressure from Arteta?

    Have they said that this scenario is false and called on players to substantiate either suggestions?

    Meanwhile, we keep the media very happily employed by not addressing the issues and the club looks more divided every headline they produce.

    On the other hand, Chelsea made an official statement, explaining that all their players refused to take a pay cut, but wanted to use their own preferences as to how they would benefit the country and not the club.

    Since that statement, Chelsea FC have disappeared from the headlines, while we continue to look like amateurs.

    1. @Ken
      No respectable employer (in football or anywhere else) should make individual personnel discussions public.

      I am also quite happy the club doesn’t comment all kinds of press/pundit/fan allegations.
      That would be one sure way of “creating a fire out of smoke”

      1. Anders, there is already a forest fire burning and yet we hear nothing from the club that you said was openly communicated with the fans.

        The club were more than happy to discuss personnel issues when it suited them (examples being xhaka, mustafi and Ozil under UE).

        I’m certain that Chelsea and its fans must be delightedly with the way our mismanaged club has taken all the heat and criticism away from them – who, by the way, are a fabulously run club.

        1. You are mixing comments about team selection with personnel details like salaries etc. Ain’t the same.
          Arsenal has very openly communicated, it asked the players for a pay-cut due to loss of income and even added the overall outlook it was based on.
          I don’t know how Chelsea is run in detail, but I will tell you, I am happy, we aren’t owned by a Russian billionaire, who may have earned part of his fortune in somewhat dubious circumstances and may have used the investment in Chelsea to wash his money.

          1. Not disagreeing about Abramovitch Anders, but at least he has put his personal money. I’ll gotten or not, into the club he purchased.

            He wants the club to be a winning club and win trophies, something that kronkie has stated isn’t his priority.

            Back to the cut and personnel details:

            Are you really happy that our club is not coming out to confirm or deny any of the rumours that are splitting the fan base, making the club a target for every media headline and scandal?

            It is an ongoing disaster that finds it’s way nearly every day, not only in the media, but on sites such as “just arsenal” – it is a complete and utter mess, conducted by our club in full view of the media and football World.

            One of the biggest clubs in the world and the first to hand out the begging bowl, with a multi billionaire still not prepared to act like one.

            Give me Abramovitch any day of the week over this tight fisted blood sucker who is taking The Arsenal into mediocrity and ridicule.

          2. @Ken
            For some reason I can’t reply directly onto your latest comment, so I try this way.
            Yes, I am happy Arsenal doesn’t disclose individual personnel details from discussions, which in nature should be confidential. I actually applaud it, and in no way do I see it having disastrous consequences.
            Most clubs, nearly all in fact, are run as self sustainable businesses and I prefer that model. In my opinion it should be prohibited to have clubs run by persons, who are throwing loads of money into the clubs “for fun” or to white wash it. So, I would in fact loose respect for Arsenal, if it was taken over by certain owners/types. Even if it meant more trophies.

    2. Anders is clearly right in his main message which is that no club can consistently live way beyond its means without financial danger. I do however dissent Ken, as you also do, when he talks about our communicatIon being done very openly. THIS IS PATENTLY UNTRUE and an odd conclusion for a man of his wisdom to come to, I’d say. GLAD YOU AGREE.

      1. Jjon, great debate since we have all calmed down!!!

        The problem is Jon, this virus has changed the landscape and if kronkie wants a self sustaining club, we must prepare ourselves for a Billy Wright era – unless kronkie backs this club as if he wants it to succeed and not become a leeds united.

        1. Ken
          I’m sure you can explain this to me, but will the self sustaining model not be applying to all clubs due to FFP? I was under an impression that owners are not allowed to give clubs more than a certain amount (which isn’t much) or offer massive loans which technically have to be paid back in the future ? Is the second option the route that SK could follow what you are suggesting?
          Won’t a lot of teams be facing huge uncertainty with owners who are very wealthy but not able to generate the sort of funds needed to keep the present levels due to lack of income?
          Won’t the vast majority of clubs be facing a Leeds United scenario? You can tell I don’t understand business-not my area

  7. JACOB, your contention that other clubs will now know we are short of money is only technically true, because ALL clubs know that ALL other clubs will be short of money. Even the likes of City are going to be much affected over time, as the world economy crashes – and have you seen Lloyds Bank last three months crash announced just today, as evidence – and the fact is ALL football will do well to even survive , even the bigger clubs.
    When ANY business tries too long to live beyond its means in a crash, they go bust. So you will be wise not to underestimate the danger ALL football, let alone just our club, is in!

  8. All mate have you answered your own question ?
    We are not going to spend big this summer ?
    Reason Arteta is our manager
    Zero ambition at our club

    1. You haven’t actually named who is going to spend big this summer apart from saying that we’re not.

      I don’t like to sound sarcastic but have you not noticed that the world is in lockdown and the world economy is in free fall. I should think for most clubs their ambition is to stay afloat

      You didn’t say who you’d prefer instead of Arteta. There are precious few outstanding managers in world football and has shown promise and I think he has a good future

      1. SueP, Twins again! Our poor “Mum”. Six long years of labour(plus, presumably, nine months!)

  9. Arteta will be like Moses he will lead us out of the wilderness others have put us in. You so-called supporters saying they would like Chelsea owner who needs to wash his money good luck to him at least we are honest

    1. Are we really towny254?

      Just go and check how many lawsuits kronkie has settled out of court and then see what charges have been made against abramovitch.

      I believe kronkie is one of the most hated sports figures in the USA – don’t run away with the idea we have a upright, god fearing owner!!

  10. But isn’t this how real life works?
    In hard times you make compromises.
    You cut on your spending on certain things and try to put the money somewhere more urgent.
    We have to function as a club in these tough times. The club promised to keep paying non playing staff their full wages. That to me is amazing.
    It’s not like these players making between £10,000-£350,000 a week are going to become homeless after a 12% cut.
    Don’t businesses make massive decisions by cutting jobs but then again invest in the same business?
    To me now it’s all about Kroenke. What is his next move when it comes to finances / financing the club.

  11. Why should footballers get paid full ( extreme wages ) when they are not working?
    The same reason the rest of the worlds workforce had to take cuts or loose jobs
    It feels like the same fakin argument over and over again just for debates sake
    But the point remains the same
    Why shouldn’t football as a business follow all the other businesses in the world in this pandemic

  12. There is a vast difference between footballers and most other employees when it comes to relationships with their employer. They have individually negotiated contracts and other employees do not.

    When it comes to pay cuts or any other kind of financial negotiation with players, those contracts are legally enforceable. The debate about morality is a fair one, but legally there is really no grey area; Arsenal promised to pay each player a certain amount under certain conditions.

    It is impossible to know whether Arsenal are in dire financial straights or not; businesses of all ilks regularly conceal their costs, revenues, and debt; Arsenal are no different. Perhaps things are exactly as the club is communicating – loss of revenue from a whole range of sources; from missing out on Champions League to getting bounced from Europa League and CoVid-19 related cancellations put the club under financial strain and they are trying to renegotiate terms of contracts to improve their financial position. It seems a reasonable assumption, but it’s just that; an assumption. No one outside the club’s senior leadership really knows the complete picture.

    And Arsenal have a billionaire American owner, while Chelsea have a Russian billionaire owner. Abramovitch may be marginally richer than Kroenke, but is the difference in wealth or willingness to spend it on football? Kroenke is a sports-business owner, with a long history of making money from sports franchises he owns. Abramovich is a billionaire with a football team as a hobby.

    As far as which players if any refused the pay cut, it is a little odd that only Mesut Ozil has been identified by name. I have no idea if he accepted the pay cut, refused it, or otherwise; but if he did, why haven’t the other two players been named. If the source of the stories is legitimate, then the reporter must have the other names. Why haven’t they been released?

    If the story about Ozil is true , while the idea that the players should do their fair share in terms of supporting a suffering nation during the crisis are fair, it is equally fair to point out that Arsenal have spent the last two years vilifying Ozil. Unai Emery benched him for long spans of time and replaced him with markedly inferior players, the club certainly faired no better with him on the bench, and when he played, generally played at least as well as the players who had supposedly better attitudes. Club officials supported the decision and made comments about Ozil’s attitude, ability, performance, etc.

    All of this was clearly aimed at forcing Ozil out of the club. It showed massively poor judgement and poor man management was one of Emery’s signature failings at PSG and he continued the trend at Arsenal. The debate over Ozil and his wages never ceases to spark vitriol, but how much of the fans’ hatred of Ozil is driven by comments made by the club in public or on the sly to journalists who publish them without identifying their source? That kind of behavior by an employer is hardly going to engender trust and a sense of obligation to the greater good in a player who met his obligations under his contract (It seems very clear that if he had not, based on their collective actions, the club would have said so loudly and in public).

    While Arteta did a lot to heal that wound and put Ozil back in the line up and oversaw an upturn in team performance, it is clear that, in identifying Ozil (and none of the other players who allegedly refused pay cuts) the club leadership is, at least in some quarters, still trying to force Ozil out and/or publicly humiliate him for not going when the club wanted him to go.

    Arsenal fans seem incredibly willing to demonize Ozil. None of the commentary seems to ask who the other players are, or if the story is true; remember the original statement from the club was that all the senior players accepted pay cuts. So was that a lie? If it was a lie, why has only Ozil’s name been mentioned? Clearly this is part of the same strategy to push Ozil toward’s the door.

    Ask yourself if your boss treated you like this how you would respond when he came knocking on your door asking for a handout or a favor. “C’mon, Mesut, do us a solid… yeah, sure we called you lazy and selfish and greedy, but hey, that was three months ago! We destroyed your career and made sure that no other top team would sign you…” (after all, who would want a midfielder of Ozil’s stature who was benched to make room in the line-up for Joe Willock, Mateo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira, etc.)”… But hey, we fired the guy who benched you! Sure, the director of football said some stuff, but like we said that was three months ago, when the media were still swallowing the crap about our failings being your fault!”

    “Now we are the ones in trouble, so why aren’t you doing your part?” In Ozil’s place, after being yet-again singled out for criticism, I would almost certainly tell the club to go fly a kite in a lightning storm. Especially if I had a legally binding contract.

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