Jamie Carragher hits out at Mesut Ozil for scoring ‘massive own goal’ and criticises Arsenal star’s agent

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Mesut Ozil of Arsenal reacts prior to the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match between Arsenal FC and Olympiacos FC at Emirates Stadium on February 27, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)
Mesut Ozil was reportedly one of three players who refused Arsenal’s wage cut proposal (Picture: Getty)

Jamie Carragher believes Mesut Ozil has scored a ‘massive own goal’ after the midfielder reportedly refused to accept a pay cut on his £350,000-a-week salary to ease Arsenal’s financial concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Arsenal confirmed in an official statement on Monday evening that the majority of Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad and coaching staff had reached an agreement over a 12.5 per cent salary reduction for the next 12 months.

The agreement states that the money would be repaid in full if the Gunners seal qualification for next season’s Champions League and a top-four finish would guarantee a £100,000 bonus for all players. Securing Europa League football would see the squad reimbursed 7.5 per cent of their pay cut, while any player sold for profit would have his money refunded in full.

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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)
Carragher says Ozil has scored a ‘massive own goal’ (Picture: Getty)

But it’s understood Ozil was one of three players to refuse the proposal as he is only prepared to defer his wages. The German has made it clear he will be willing to take a pay cut at a later date but only when the financial landscape is clearer.

Asked whether it’s a PR own goal that needs reversing, Liverpool legend Carragher told Sky Sports: ‘Yeah, hugely. I think his agent did him no favours when he came out and spoke three or four weeks ago arguing the face about waiting to see how the coronavirus hits these clubs financially, let’s wait and see.

‘But I always felt this would be a problem having been there myself in a different situation when you try and agree with 25 people in a dressing room, it’s never going to happen.

‘I always felt there were two strands of player in your club who could in some ways maybe not fully engage with the rest of the squad in terms of cuts and deferrals and that’s maybe a young lad who just got into the squad who maybe didn’t have the revenue of other players or someone at the end of his contract who perhaps hadn’t earned as much money throughout his career.

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

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - AUGUST 23: Jamie Carragher working for Sky Sports during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Everton FC at Villa Park on August 23, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Carragher believes Ozil’s agent has done the midfielder no favours (Picture: Getty)

Carragher added: ‘Football is a team game not an individual sport. Someone like Ozil in that situation I think he’s got to go with what the rest of the players are doing.

‘It’s a massive own goal. I’m not going to have a go at him for the wages he’s earning, if you want to go at Mesut Ozil for the wages he’s earning, blame the people who give him the contract.

‘In every walk of life we’re trying to make as much as we can. But when a situation like this comes in and you’re together as a team in the dressing room, I think the highest paid member of the dressing room, the biggest name in that dressing room should be the one who almost sets the example really.

‘It hasn’t been a great PR success story since he had that contract really so this has been a massive PR own goal I think but it didn’t help his agent started talking two or three weeks ago.’

Carragher hasn’t been the only high-profile name to question Ozil’s behaviour, with Piers Morgan slamming the German’s refusal to take a pay cut live on Good Morning Britain.

Morgan, a lifelong Arsenal supporter, fumed: ‘He’s made it clear he respects the decision that the other players have made, but he’s urged them to respect his.

‘He’s made it clear he might be willing to do it in the future, but wants to see the full financial impact of coronavirus and didn’t want to rush into a decision.

‘Shame on you Mesut Ozil. Shame on you. So let me get this straight, some of the younger players on far less money than you, are taking a 12.5% pay cut, a minuscule drop in the ocean for you, and you don’t want to do it?

‘Because you want to see how the financial situation plays out while you’re sitting on your backside on your PlayStation every night rather than actually playing football? Really?!

‘Now I’ve reserved my condemnation for football clubs who have been furloughing using tax payer money when they’ve got plenty of money themselves: Liverpool, Newcastle, Tottenham all got shamed into doing U-turns on this kind of thing.

‘The players I thought were getting a bad rap, but this is why some of them deserve a bad rap.

‘People like Mesut Ozil who have just said, “No, sorry no, I may be the highest paid player at Arsenal, I might be one of the highest paid players in the world, I might be worth gazillions, and I might be sitting on my backside at the moment doing nothing. But no, I’m not going to take a pay cut”.’

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