Arsenal players warned the club is now in a 'very grave situation' due to coronavirus

  • Kat Lucas

Arsenal appear to be among the Premier League clubs worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. 

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 outbreak is decimating clubs’ finances up and down the country. 

Many players are choosing to make voluntary donations rather than take a paycut, as part of the ‘Players Together’ initiative. 

Yet behind the scenes at the Emirates, the first team have been warned they will still need to accept their wages being slashed by at least 12.5% – with possible further cuts down the line if they don’t qualify for the Champions League again. 

That’s according to the Mirror, who report that the squad have now been warned the club is “in a very grave situation” financially. 

Even before the current crisis unfolded, the Gunners reported a loss of £27.1m last year. 

Now, they are contending with a massive £230m wage bill – around 60% of their turnover – with top-earner Mesut Ozil earning in the region of £350,000-a-week. 

The north Londoners are already struggling with their existing bills, such as the instalments to finish paying for summer signing Nicolas Pepe. The £72m spent on the record signing was “money they did not really have”. 

To make matters worse, they are now in the same boat as other top-flight clubs who risk missing out on as much as £750m in TV money with the season up in the air. 

Even if it’s finished behind closed doors, that means a deficit of £2m-a-game in gate receipts. 

Their financial situation has been made worse by crashing out of the Europa League so early and while it could be alleviated by qualifying for the Champions League, that looks unlikely. 

They hope that players agreeing to a wage cut will save them £25m. 

So how will it work? By making them take a pay cut for a year, starting in April 2020, that money will then be given back to the players if they qualify for Europe’s elite competition. If they make the Europa League again, the pay cut will become 7.5%.

Fortunately, it now looks as if the season will be finished in some capacity. That means losing the £750m in broadcasting rights from Sky Sports and BT Sport is now unlikely – otherwise, the players would be asked to find a further “solution”. 

Perhaps the biggest concern for football as a whole is that a club of Arsenal’s size can be feeling the pinch to such an extent.

Clearly, nobody is immune from the impact of this ongoing health crisis. 

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