Liverpool FC legend and TV Pundit, Jamie Carragher, has slammed Arsenal star player Mesut Ozil for refusing to take a pay cut to ease the club’s financial struggles during the Coronavirus crisis, despite being the club’s highest paid player.
Arsenal confirmed on Monday that the first team squad along with head coach Mikel Arteta and his staff had agreed to a 12.5% overrall reduction in wages to assist the London club as they go through a financially tough time during this Covid-19 crisis, but reports emerged that Ozil alongside two other players rejected taking pay cuts.
Ozil who has not really been a fan favorite due to his inconsistencies since signing for Arsenal has now been blasted by Carragher. According to Carragher, the 31-year-old half German half Turkish player has scored “a huge PR own goal”.
“The fact the highest-paid player and possibly the biggest name at Arsenal has not gone with the rest of his team-mates and stuck together [is bad],” Carragher told The Football Show on Sky Sports News.
“Even if I was in Ozil’s position and I did not agree with that, I think the fact the rest of the team, your manager and people at the club have decided to be as one and make this decision, you have to go with it as a team.
“Football is a team game, it’s not an individual sport, and for someone like Ozil in that situation I think he’s got to go with what the rest of the players are doing. It’s a massive PR own goal.
“I’m not going to have a go at Mesut Ozil for the wages he’s earned. If you want to have a go at Mesut Ozil for the wages he’s got, blame the people who gave him the contract. We’re all in every walk of life trying to earn as much money as we possibly can.
“But when a situation like this comes in and you’re together as a team in a dressing room, I think the highest-paid member and the biggest name in that dressing room should be the one who almost sets the example really.”
Ozil’s agent, Dr Erkut Sogut, has come to the defence of his client saying every employee has the right to decide and question what happens to his salary.
Sogut told The Athletic: “If a club is asking players to take a material pay reduction, a cut, or a deferment then the club is likely to need to really be transparent about its financial circumstances in order for players to make an informed choice about the extent they should be expected to assist the club through the coming months.
“It is not enough for a club to present a proposal to one member of the first-team squad and then ask them to go to the rest of the squad and get their consent to do it. That is not how individual contract negotiations should take place.
“A club may even ask a first-team manager to negotiate with players and this may influence some, particularly younger players or those on the fringe who fear there might be personal repercussions for him if he does not agree.
“In those circumstances it could be questionable that any consent from the players would be legally binding anyway as some players are not in a position to give true consent if they are under pressure to do so.
“You might hear 20 per cent, 30 per cent. It’s not enough to say a percentage. It’s more the club really needs to explain why this percentage. What other measures have the club considered and implemented? Will the club reduce or increase its transfer budget? If so, by how much? Will the clubs be capping the salaries of new signings? Will the directors or senior management also be taking pay reductions during the period? If so, in what way? Will the club be ceasing all dividend payments to shareholders and if so, for what period? The players need to know about that.
“The players are entitled to know what will happen if they don’t agree. What will happen if I say no? Is this a genuine choice for the player or is there sanctions?”