Mesut Ozil and Pay Cuts Saga

It’s no news that Arsenal has suggested and, maybe, by now, implemented a 12.5% pay cut proposal. Arteta’s involvement cannot be over-emphasised. We have however heard nothing about Özil’s apparent refusal to the pay-cut.

On the one hand, we hear that he outrightly refused. There is a piece on the  All Football app which points to this. One part of the article which really stands out is this:

And while not all of Arsenal’s ills can be put down to individual players, the return on Ozil is symptomatic of a wider problem: that of marquee players with inflated reputations and salaries failing to deliver. Ozil played the full two hours, including extra time, in the second leg against Olympiacos. Teams with players on £350,000 should not lose at home to Olympiacos.

That level of reward is considered insurance. World-class players, earning world-class salaries, guaranteeing a certain level of progress. The failure to deliver is why Arsenal are so worried about their financial future. ”…

Ozil's 2019/2020 Game Stats Summary
2 Assists
Ozil has played 18 games in total
1 Goal

It may seem harsh that I’m reducing Özil’s performance to just goals and assists. But, when it comes down to it, those are the main stats for a player with his perceived abilities.

We don’t judge Aubameyang by how many assists he gives, do we? 

Not that that would be bad, but that’s not what Arsenal bought him for. Accepted, some parts of the article seem one-sided, maybe a little biased but, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and say there aren’t elements of truth in it.

For the kind of money we pay some players, there’s a certain level of commitment or performance required. And while some might heap all the blame on Emery, more often than not, before Arteta, some of our players didn’t seem to give enough.

On the other hand, we hear that he did not outrightly refuse but planned to accept only when he knew where the money from the cut went.

I choose to believe the second opinion for now.

Ozil has done much for charity and so I believe there’s the presence of conscience and he has not chosen to be willfully blind to Arsenal’s current situation.

But Ozil’s argument begs the question though. 

He asks: “Where’s the money going?”. My response would be a question of my own: Is there any money at all for it to go anywhere?

Arsenal’s finances, bar ticket sales has hinged greatly on getting Champions League football, something we haven’t done in 3 seasons. From CL football comes higher sponsorship deals, higher TV rights, prize monies and so on. I mean, I’m stating the obvious.

Let me further breakdown Arsenal’s situation.

Let’s say Company A, a fishing business, sells fish and crab. But the bread and butter that is, the main profits come from the sale of fish. From fish, they sell the fish itself, they sell the fish eggs (caviar), and they sell fish oil. But, for the past three years, the fish in the English Channel decided to go on ‘vacation’ because fishermen were overfishing. Company A can only sell crab for now. So, no fish, no caviar, no fish oil.

And Company A has to pay its sailors, fish handlers, cleaners and so on. What do you think Company A should do?

Sack some staff? Or, ask staff, including the CEO, to take a pay-cut so the company can stay afloat?

Remember, there’s little cashflow. Where Company A made £100,000 a year with running costs (including staff salaries) of £60,000, for the past three years, Company A has made £35,000 but still has the same running costs.

For Arsenal, it’s not just about COVID-19. It’s been a protracted problem—players on Champions League wages with no Champions League football. COVID just made it worse. Unlike Company A, we don’t even have ‘crabs’ to sell.

Arsenal has not requested anything wrong. It only makes sense. Some of us have had to choose between taking a pay-cut and keeping our jobs because businesses are in dire situations now.

I’m not sure what’s going on behind the scenes right now but, would transparency from the Board help Ozil make a decision? The pay cut runs through from top (CEO and Directors) to bottom, so what’s the problem?

Would a financial allocation plan from the club change his decision? We don’t know.

If however, the club has been transparent in their dealings and Ozil still insists on his current pay, then, and only then can you shake your fists at him.


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