Arsenal's Mesut Ozil explains why he was one of three players to refuse a pay cut

Ozil refused a pay cut in April

Mesut Ozil caused controversy when refused to take a 12.5% pay cut at Arsenal back in April.

The club asked the entire squad to reduce their salary in order to save a number of non-playing staff jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. 

They have, of course, since reversed that decision and have proposed up to 55 redundancies. 

But Ozil still came in for some criticism when it was revealed he was one of three first-team stars to refuse the cut – despite being Arsenal’s highest earner on £350,000 a week. 

The midfielder has since come out to explain why he decided to turn it down, claiming that the Gunners’ proposal was ‘rushed’.

“As players, we all wanted to contribute,” he told The Athletic’s David Ornstein

“But we needed more information and many questions were unanswered. 

Ozil has explained why he refused a cut

“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. 

Ozil was criticised for his decision

“But we didn’t get enough details, we just had to give a quick decision. It was far too quick for something so important and there was a lot of pressure.”

On one level, you can see where Ozil’s coming from. A decision like that shouldn’t be rushed and it needs to be the right one.

But considering all but two of his Arsenal teammates agreed to the cut, perhaps he should have followed suit – or better yet – lead by example. 

Ozil also admitted his decision may have affected his relationship with Mikel Arteta and could have been a factor in seeing him dropped.

Ozil has since been dropped

“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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