Mikel Arteta has reportedly convinced Arsenal players to take a 12.5% paycut for the next year, making them the first club in the Premier League to come to such an agreement.

Mikel Arteta and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang speak in the foreground, with Catalin Cirjan behind them. Triallist Tyger Smalls walks away in the background (Photo via Tyger Smalls on Twitter)
Mikel Arteta and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang speak in the foreground, with Catalin Cirjan behind them. Triallist Tyger Smalls walks away in the background (Photo via Tyger Smalls on Twitter)

Mikel Arteta was the first Premier League manager to contract Covid-19 and while Arsenal moved swiftly to isolate everybody at the club and deep-clean facilities, many others wanted to carry on.

As soon as the league was suspended and the government announced their furlough scheme both Liverpool and Spurs jumped straight on it.

Liverpool felt the backlash and backpedaled quickly. It took a little longer for Daniel Levy at Spurs to do the same, perhaps thinking he could ride out any bad sentiment in the hopes that people would just forget about the fact that one of the richest clubs in the world had decided to use government benefits, meant for those struggling to pay a large portion of their staff.

Daily Mail, 10 April 2020

Arsenal never did any such thing. From the start they made it clear they would pay all of their staff’s wages in full, even those of the casual matchday stewards for matches they would have worked.

Now, they lead the way once again according to David Ornstein in the Athletic.

“Arsenal are very close to reaching an agreement with some of their players about a salary commitment to help cover the potential losses of the coronavirus crisis, The Athletic understands,” writes Ornstein.

“After a crucial intervention by Mikel Arteta, as revealed earlier on Thursday, a majority of the Arsenal squad are prepared to accept pay cuts of up to 12.5 per cent a month over the next year, making them the first Premier League club to do so.

“The head coach’s involvement on Wednesday night is understood to have been vital to getting the deal over the line, with one source describing the head coach as an “extraordinary man”.

He then goes on to explain how the cuts will be done on a sliding basis that will depend if Arsenal manage to qualify for next year’s Champions League.

It is worth noting that the deal has not yet been formally agreed nor signed off. The majority of players initially wanted a pay deferral as they did not understand why a club of Arsenal’s means needed them to take a cut.

A Whatsapp group consisting of all the players, and run by Hector Bellerin, club captain in all but name, allegedly polled them all about taking a cut. 13 said yes, 14 said no.

Then Arteta got involved.

In Tuesday’s statement, Arsenal said they were experiencing “one of the most challenging periods” in the club’s history.

“The suspension of football and the broader global economic impact of the virus mean that many of our revenue streams are on hold or are at risk,” they said. “We have always aimed to operate on the basis that the money we earn is reinvested in the team, the wider club and invested into our community. The potential impact on our revenue streams puts our operating model under pressure.

“We know that this crisis will pass, and normality will resume, but timeframes cannot be known with any certainty. The potential financial impact is significant so we must be responsible and act now to best protect Arsenal from what might happen in the months ahead.”