Why I have sympathy with Arsenal pay cut ‘scapegoat’ Mesut Ozil

Criticising Mesut Ozil is wrong after being labeled as a pay cut refusenik - why aren’t we focusing on Gunners billionaire owner Stan Kroenke?

Why I have sympathy with Arsenal pay cut ‘scapegoat’ Mesut Ozil

Why should Ozil be forced into a pay cut when Kroenke is worth billions? CREDIT: OFFSIDE

First things first. Well done to Arsenal for leading the way in the Premier League and agreeing to take a 12.5 per cent pay cut. 

The contrast between the Gunners and ‘that lot’ up the other end of the Seven Sisters Road has been stark. While Spurs were embarrassed into changing their minds when begging for government cash, Arsenal have led the way with their measured and consistent approach to dealing with the fallout from Covid-19– both in financial and human terms. 

By refusing to grab taxpayers cash and furlough staff Arsenal have deserved credit by striking the right tone throughout this dreadful global pandemic.

Likewise, with Mikel Arteta and the majority of his squad agreeing to take a pay cut, they sent a message to the world that footballers are not the greedy layabouts many believe them to be – while also embarrassing our political leaders who were quick to jump on a football-bashing bandwagon recently. 

The same politicians, it should be noted, that have singularly refused to take a pay cut of their own – with many showing themselves to be the hypocrites they really are by completely ignoring their own rules on social distancing and flouting official guidelines to suit their own purposes. 

But when the news came through that three Arsenal players, including a ‘senior’ member of the team apparently refused to agree to a 12.5 per cent pay cut, the knives came out for Ozil.

Why should Ozil be forced into a pay cut when Kroenke is worth billions?

If, indeed, Ozil is one of the alleged trio of Arsenal players to so far refuse to take a pay cut – and let’s face it there’s been no official confirmation as we speak, meaning everything is purely speculation – my gut instinct is why should he agree to a drop in salary?

Why should Arsenal’s world class creative talent take a pay cut when the focus should be on the club’s absentee billionaire owner ‘Silent’ Stan Kroenke?

Why don’t people stop scapegoating players and look to where Kroenke’s billions are, and how much he is doing to help the club through challenging financial conditions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic?

Ozil’s considerable charity work

On Ozil’s part, it’s no secret he does an awful lot for charity and has funded operations for more than 1,000 children as well as significantly aiding homeless projects to the tune of more than £100,000 - to name but two worthy causes he has quietly contributed to.

If I was Ozil, I would also be slightly resentful that the club did all they could to force him out to save on the astronomical wages he received. The same astronomical wages, don’t forget, they themselves awarded him under the name of Arsenal - even if there was a different regime in charge when his lucrative contract extension was awarded at the end of January 2018.

Given that the cub has touted him around during the last few transfer windows, would it not be unreasonable for Ozil to view the club demanding a pay cut from him to be part of their campaign to get him to leave? A campaign perhaps orchestrated by the very same billionaire owner that has yet to put his hand in his pocket to help the club while the deadly coronavirus takes hold?

Put yourself in Ozil’s shoes 

If you’d been actively targeted by your employers in a bid to get you to leave the company, and then the same people then tried to get you to take a pay cut, how would you feel? 

Yes, he earns £350,000 a week. But you’d be a fool to turn that down. Anyone would. Likewise, why would you accept a pay cut, knowing full well, that for all intents and purposes, your ‘boss’ was a billionaire? All the while Ozil contributes a substantial amount of his time and money to charity projects close to his heart. 

Would you be so willing to take a pay cut under those circumstances – certainly without seeing the ‘small print’ from your billionaire owner, and perhaps asking for a few assurances of your own from someone who is worth an estimated $8bn – or double that if you include his wife’s share in Walmart?

As with anything connected to Ozil nothing is black and white

The situation is far more nuanced and Ozil deserves the benefit of the doubt. Yes, he has to contribute – and I’m convinced he will – but surely the billionaire owner of Arsenal FC also has to willingly donate his fair share of financial aid surely? 

Agree or disagree with Grumpy Glen? Let us know your thoughts below and on Twitter @GoonerFanzine


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  1. andy1886

    Apr 24, 2020, 09:44 #116788

    Sorry, I can't say I agree. On a purely practical basis Arsenal is just another business to Kroenke. What happens when any business starts to lose money? They let staff go, the owner certainly doesn't dip into his pocket. That's what you get when clubs stop being community based sports. From a team perspective how do you think all the other players, many earning far less than Ozil, feel about their over paid under performing team mate refusing to abide by their collective decision? Not good for morale is it? As for 'world class creative talent' do me a favour, he hasn't been anything like 'world class' for years. And then we have the "but he does so much for charity" stuff. Just like many others who don't feel the need to plaster it all over the internet (quietly my a**). This is a man who employs a large team to manage his image, perhaps if he let a few of those go he might be able to swallow the 12.5% cut? We get it, you're an Ozil fan. I'm more interested in the survival of our football club than the whims of an over the hill primadonna who has bled Arsenal on a undeserved contract and will probably continue to do so until he walks away next summer looking for a nice fat signing on fee elsewhere.

  2. arrgee

    Apr 23, 2020, 18:47 #116787

    I don't know why the players are taking a pay cut at all. Arsenal have our money from ticket sales and the TV money. And if it has to be paid back then Kronke's private company that own the club pay it back. He owns the whole thing so he is responsible for the debts. Ozil is right.

  3. Wengerballs

    Apr 22, 2020, 08:33 #116780

    This is a perfect opportunity to hit Kroenke in the only place he hurts, the pocket, by forcing him to put money in but no, the players have to bend over and carry the can instead of that soulless, fake, wigged blood sport loving, game hunting yank prick. The players should refuse a pay cut and instead set up a private collective to gift some of their earnings to struggling Club staff.

  4. itsRonagain2

    Apr 21, 2020, 18:56 #116778

    Quite agree. Never keen on him as a player but admire that he s never one to be pushed about and always has his own mind. He knows how much that club and it’s owner has for sure. Let’s be honest here too, once this lock down nonsense has seen its course done , this lying bast..d this country has elected to run the gig here has his planned excuse to impose another 10 yrs of austerity on the country and as before , the likes of Wiggy and the other elites will be coining it at the expense of everybody else. The players all shd demand their contracts are paid and break him. Whatever we think of today’s shallow modern players they’re advised properly these days and know that clubs drop them like hot potatoes once they’re done with them. They are being scapegoated and they know it. The original poster is right. Why shdt these fuc - ing billionaires be coughing up.

  5. Nos89

    Apr 21, 2020, 14:42 #116777

    I agree, why are people criticising Ozil for not taking a pay cut when the owner of the club is sitting on a £3.6 billion fortune and could easily sustain the club for 3 months and not even notice a blimp in his bank account. In fact he could support all his sporting franchises and until sports are up an running again without noticing a difference. The question that should be asked is will Stan forgo his annual £3m consultancy fee, and his share dividends? Remember that 12.5% pay cut is to sustain the club finances and not go towards any charitable causes. It will go towards maintaining its payroll position for the greater workforce of the club, the retail shop workers, etc... Are the frontline workers being asked to take a 12.5% pay cut as well? After all, they are all employees of Arsenal Football Club. The money will still come rolling in when the season gets started again., or when the next season starts.