Mikel Arteta Defends Arsenal Pay Cuts Following Mesut Ozil Criticism

Mikel Arteta is about to begin his first full season as Arsenal manager
Mikel Arteta is about to begin his first full season as Arsenal manager

Mikel Arteta has insisted that Arsenal players and staff fully understood what they were signing up for when they opted to take a pay cut during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.

The majority of players accepted a 10% wage reduction, but Mesut Ozil was one of three players who did not. The midfielder later explained this was because the players were not fully in the picture regarding the situation, and were rushed into a decision.

"We needed more information and many questions were unanswered," Ozil explained. "Everyone was fine with a deferral while there was so much uncertainty... and then a cut if required, once the financial outlook was clearer. But we were rushed into it without proper consultation."

In August, Arsenal announced 55 redundancies.

"You have a right to know everything, where the money is going," Ozil added. "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. And when you see what has happened now with the (55) jobs, maybe I was right."

However, Arteta insists the players had everything explained to them prior to making a decision.

"The club had a very thorough plan of how they needed to restructure in order to be more stable for the future," the Arsenal manager said [via the Daily Mail]. "They were very convincing with every argument they gave to all of us that it was the right thing to do.

"The players were happy to contribute in this difficult financial position. That doesn’t mean that afterwards you are going to have a say in every decision made by the club. It can’t work like that. At the end of the day it wasn’t an obligation, it was a choice whether you wanted to do it or not.

"We tried to do the right things as human beings to help a club that has been supporting us, in my case for many years, and in others cases here as well, whether you were injured, sick, performing or not performing. We believe it was the right thing to do."