Gary Neville accuses Arsenal players of ‘outing’ Mesut Ozil and questions his future at the club

ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - MARCH 10: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal during Arsenal Training Session at London Colney on March 10, 2020 in St Albans, England. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Ozil has been ‘outed’, Neville believes (Picture: Arsenal FC via Getty)

Gary Neville suggested Arsenal players had ‘outed’ Mesut Ozil over his refusal to take a wage cut and believes this could affect his future at the club.

Ozil, the highest paid player at the club, reportedly refused to see his £350,000-a-week wages slashed for the next 12 months, while others in the squad had agreed a 12.5% cut.

While Manchester United legend Neville believes it’s ‘indefensible’ to not stick together as a group – with Ozil one of three players not to agree to the cut, instead preferring a deferral – he didn’t agree with the news being leaked.

And he thinks as well as being thrown ‘overboard’ Ozil could find himself ‘isolated’ and ‘alienated’ moving forwards at the club.

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‘I think, to be fair, the principle of not being together as a group is indefensible,’ Neville told Sky Sports.

‘I think that’s the biggest problem when you’ve got a group of players who are adopting one position, you go with it. You’re a team on and off the pitch.

‘I wouldn’t like to be one of the three people who haven’t agreed with the rest of the group. I think it will isolate them and alienate them in everything moving forward.

‘They’re entitled to make their own decisions, you can’t rip up a player’s contract or force them to take a cut or a deferral but I think when a group of players are voting for something you go along with it and from my point of view I think it just demonstrates further the complexity of what’s happening at the moment within Premier League clubs.

‘There is no doubt football is eating itself from the inside out. There is disagreements, not just from Premier League to clubs, from club to clubs, from clubs to players… there is nothing at this moment in time that is in agreement generally.

‘There may be the odd club or two that have got their club in order but I would say at this moment in time, most clubs, players, aren’t at war but they’re disagreeing with what’s happening. It’s a massive battle.

‘The clubs need some support, the players, to be fair, don’t trust the clubs and this is an example of it.’

Asked how the news had got out, Neville quickly replied: ‘They’ve outed him.

Arsenal statement on salary cuts

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. 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. The resulting savings will help cover some of the financial risks we have this season in relation to our matchday 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. 

‘The club or the players, they’ve outed him. It’s as simple as that.’

He added: ‘This is a situation where you’ve got three players breaking from the group. It’s unpleasant and this is nothing to do with the Premier League and nothing to do with Arsenal Football Club per se, this is to do with a spirit in the dressing room whereby you all stick together.

‘You don’t throw each other overboard, you support each other through thick and thin. Three have decided to go their own way.’

MORE: Arsenal star Mesut Ozil refuses to take pay cut on £350,000-a-week wages

MORE: Piers Morgan slams Mesut Ozil over wage cut refusal

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