Mesut Ozil finally explains why he refused pay cut and takes swipe at Arsenal board over redundancies

Mesut Ozil finally explains why he refused pay cut and takes swipe at Arsenal board over redundancies
The German says his concerns were validated by the Gunners’ recent staff cuts (Picture: Getty)

Mesut Ozil says Arsenal bosses ‘rushed’ the squad into taking a pay cut and feels his refusal was entirely justified after the club made 55 members of staff redundant.

At the height of the coronavirus crisis, and with Arsenal’s finances severely hit, the north London club became the first team in the Premier League to agree to a squad wage cut of 12.5%.

They did so under the impression they were keeping other staff members at the club in their jobs, but last week Arsenal announced a horde of redundancies that have disappointed many of the players.

Mesut Ozil Southampton FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League
The German has not played for Arsenal since he refused a pay cut (Picture: Getty)

Ozil was notably the only player who was publicly outed as having refused to take a pay cut, though he insists it was not a lack of compassion or generosity on his part but a lack of information and detail from Arsenal’s board.

He told The Athletic: ‘As players, we all wanted to contribute. 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.

Mesut Ozil Arsenal Training Session
Ozil claims he would have accepted an even bigger pay cut than 12.5% (Picture: Getty)

‘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.

‘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.

‘Possibly the decision affected my chances on the pitch, I don’t know. 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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