Date: 27th April 2020 at 11:54am
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With the football landscape in a state of paralysis at present and the Coronavirus showing no real signs of easing anytime soon, the future of clubs big and small have now been put in rather serious jeopardy.

No matter the league that is being competed in, footballing institutions are now having to cut their cloth accordingly and with no confirmed return date on the horizon, Arsenal have had to act rather swiftly, the only teams that are not in danger are in Nicaragua, Belarus and Taiwan where there are still games and activity as reported by sportsbookreview.

They have recently announced that the first-team squad and manager Mikel Arteta will take a 12.5% pay cut from their annual earnings, with the potential for some of this to be paid back at the end of the 21/22 season.

For this to happen, Arsenal will need to book a return to the Champions League before that date and if the Gunners can once again join the top table of European football, their star names will be reimbursed accordingly.

Although with Mikel Arteta still undergoing something of a work in progress at the Emirates, pundits feel this might be a step too far.

However, this is not a decision that has been undertaken in a universal fashion and with Mesut Ozil being Arsenal’s highest earner at the club, it stands to reason that the German international would have the most to lose from this.

The former Real Madrid midfielder is reported to earn in the region of 350k a week and although it is well known that he does a lot of work for charity, it seems this is going to be one financial sacrifice too many.

With the current financial climate being as it is, it looks as if Premier League stars have become something of a political football as of late and due to their weekly salaries, they are an easy target for press and politicians alike.

While although Ozil’s steadfast refusal to join in on the pay cut does not look good at first glance, one must consider his own thought process and it is one that will ask, where will these savings end up going.

Ultimately this will be a decision by the Arsenal board to protect revenues during a period of inactivity and when you consider that there will still be operating costs during such times, the impact on the balance sheet will be massive.

With that said, if we once again reference the amazing charity work that Ozil has done in the past, the decision not to take a pay cut is not one stemmed in greed, it is more based in wanting to help in his own ways.

Take 2014 for example, when after winning the FIFA World Cup with Germany, the now 31-year-old donated his share of the prize money to pay for 23 Brazilian children to have a set of much needed surgical operations.

Or how about five years later, when he and his wife paid for no fewer than 1,000 children to undergo life-changing surgery. While it these acts show that there is an incredibly kind heart within the Arsenal star and not someone who plays football purely for the money.

The greater concern to Ozil will be whether Arsenal as a club really needs to make such cuts to player salaries and it will be this conversation that he will be looking to have with owner Stan Kroenke or if he is not willing to take the call, one of his trusted right-hand men.

There were reports at the start of the season when Arsenal were still under the stewardship of former boss Unai Emery, that the transfer budget was relatively meager due to failure to land qualification to the Champions League.

However, this notion was somewhat dispelled when he signed Ivorian winger Nicolas Pepe from Lille for a club-record fee of £72m and with Stan Kroenke having billions of dollars to call upon, is the need for trimming salaries all that necessary?

If dialogue can be undertaken with Ozil and the two other unreported names who have decided against this measure, then there is still every chance that the Arsenal trio will come into the fold and follow the steps of their teammates.

Ultimately, these unchartered times will have to lead to some new measures being taken and the Arsenal players should be commended for their recent decision, although at the same time Ozil should not necessarily be vilified for his.