So it would appear that the unanimous pay cut we thought the players and execs had taken didn’t come to fruition. There were 3 players that decided they wanted to sit it out. I actually speculated in the first draft of my post yesterday who that would be but I decided to take it out because it was unfairly speculative and maybe a touch inflammatory (soft, I know).
Two hours later, John Cross ran with the story that it was in fact Mesut Ozil.
Does it matter?
Yes it does. Anyone who thinks it’s not important doesn’t understand human dynamics and what goes into creating a unified culture in an organization that is striving for high-performance. Imagine how you’d feel if the highest-paid person in your company passed on a pay cut everyone else agreed to? It’d be scandalous. Imagine managing a group of young footballers and having to normalise that sort of behavior? It’d be tough. It’d feel like an assault on your authority, even though it’s more of an indictment on the individual.
The German is our most expensive player. He’s one of the most influential players in the world. He turned his back on the club and his team mates. One of our 5 captains didn’t want to put club before personal profit.
‘He pays taxes’ > so do the other 21 players.
‘He does things for charity’ > as do most players.
It’s not cool. It sends a terrible message to the younger players and it’ll leave a bad taste in the mouths of fans who have likely had financial hardship forced upon them.
Fans are waiting for his side of the story. It’s clear what that will be. He’s in the last year of his deal, in his early thirties, and his star has faded badly. The whole world knows Arsenal has been trying to move him on for 2 years. He was poorly treated by Unai Emery. He has very little reason to be loyal to leadership at Arsenal. However, I did hope he might take the moral high-ground on this one. Foolish, I know.
There are 2 other players that also refused. Interesting that the leaker of this story didn’t expose them. Seems like the dark arts of Arsenal PR were at play here, no doubt praying this pressures Mikel to stop loving on him so badly, and maybe spark fan pressure for him to go. I suspect the other two are likely players who have deals that would normally be expiring right about now.
I also think it’s a bit disappointing to read so many fans side with the players in this situation. Weird to saddle-up with millionaire footballers as you watch players all around Europe and in America volunteer much bigger chunks of their pay-cheques. So-called fans waiting to see if this is a huge profit scam haven’t been paying attention to 1) how much we lost last season 2) what happens to companies that suddenly lose the ability to operate.
Still, we can’t focus on the players not willing to do their bit for the club or moan about dim fans. The exec team landed a voluntary sacrifice from the players, they themselves gave up 33%, and the management team also did their bit. We shouldn’t let anyone dampen the initial positivity here. 21 players did their bit, that’s a huge chunk of commitment from a squad of players in disarray only 5 months ago. Where do you think we’d be with Emery running the negotiation? He’d still be explaining it.
The bigger worry for Arsenal fans is whether Bukayo Saka signs a new deal. His £7k a week deal is looking pretty shoddy right now. I don’t mind losing big-name players this summer, it really doesn’t bother me who goes, but I’d be desperately upset to lose a teenager of his pedigree. That’s an essential signing.
The Arsenal Thomas Partey links seemed fanciful to begin with, now Spanish press are reporting that Atleti are going to double his salary to £130k a week to fend off our interest. I guess that’d be us out the mixer. Still, I like that we’re being linked with a player like him, he’s exactly the sort of athlete we need in our midfield. Anyone coming from the University of Don Simeone is going to fit with the system Arteta wants to play. Let’s hope Cagigao has something a little more creative up his sleeve.
Right, short post today, see you in the comments. x