Arsenal are reported to be ‘very close’ to agreeing a 12.5% wage cut with some of their first-team players following a personal intervention from manager Mikel Arteta to ease tensions.
Arsenal‘s first-team players had initially rejected an opportunity to take a one-year pay-cut as the club looks to ease financial concerns amid the coronavirus crisis, with the proposal said to have left several of the squad unhappy.
The north London side’s hierarchy had proposed a pay-cut in a bid to cover losses incurred amid the current global pandemic, with revenue streams having been heavily affected by the ongoing suspension of football.
The squad – led by PFA representative Hector Bellerin – initially preferred a 20% wage deferral with the guarantee that the jobs of the club’s non-playing staff would be protected amid the current crisis.
There were also concerns that the proposals were a bid to cut the club’s sizeable wage bill, an issue that has previously been mentioned by director Josh Kroenke, and not simply a method of reducing immediate costs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, according to the highly reliable David Ornstein of The Athletic, an intervention from manager Mikel Arteta on Thursday has led to a breakthrough in negotiations, the Gunners now set to become the first Premier League side to announce cuts – though only some of the squad have agreed to the pay changes.
The report says that Arteta ‘managed to strike the very delicate balance between promising his players he would back them, whatever they decided’, while also ‘supporting the club’.
The cuts are said to be on a sliding scale depending on whether the club secure qualification for the Champions League and caps a remarkable turnaround in events, the Arsenal players having initially sought wage deferrals rather than cuts.
Arsenal released a statement on Tuesday warning the club were facing ‘one of the most challenging periods’ in their history, admitting the uncertainty on how long the pandemic may last puts the club’s ‘operating model under pressure’.