As more details emerge about the people being cut from Arsenal’s wage bill, Mesut Ozil’s pay cut stance, for which he was pilloried, seems like it was the right one and might even be the reason he isn’t playing.

Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) and Arsenal's French midfielder Matteo Guendouzi (R) reacts as they wait to restart after Leicester City score the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Leicester City and Arsenal at King Power Stadium in Leicester, central England on November 9, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)
Arsenal’s German midfielder Mesut Ozil  (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)

Why is Mesut Ozil not playing for Arsenal? There are many theories, but nobody really knows.

Mikel Arteta is a big fan, the German created more chances than any other player at the club despite hardly playing, and we pay him more than anybody else. It made no sense why Arsenal weren’t using him. At least, it didn’t until Arsenal’s recent announcement that they were making 55 people redundant because of Covid, when, in reality they are using the pandemic to cull the scouting department and cut costs.

Then the pieces seemed to fall into place.

Back in April, Arsenal players were asked to take a significant 12.5% pay cut to help offset the losses the club were going to make because football had stopped. They were the only Premier League side asked to do this and the players were worried that the money saved wouldn’t be used to save jobs. A prescient concern, as it turns out. At that point, the break had only been around four weeks and either two or three players were said to be refusing, depending on which reports you read.

Only Mesut Ozil was named in any significant way. His refusal made the headlines, but his reasoning, which I said at the time was right, did not.

Mesut Ozil pay cut refusal made all the headlines - Daily Mirror 21 April 2020
Mesut Ozil pay cut refusal made all the headlines – Daily Mirror 21 April 2020

Let’s look at those reasons again in light of the news Arsenal’s billionaire owner is saying we need to cut costs because of Covid when, in fact, it looks like all we are doing is cutting costs so we can hand more of it to Raul’s mates and the Kroenkes.

  • Ozil’s agent stated the player was ready to take a much more significant deferral than 12.5% when the club could show actual financial losses.
  • Ozil’s agent wanted the club to show they had lost enough revenue to necessitate cutting wages, a figure that wasnt known at the time and would not be apparent for many months.
  • Ozil was only ‘understood’ to be one of up to THREE players taking this stance. The other two weren’t mentioned, presumably because they aren’t Mesut Ozil.
  • The Professional Football Association warned ALL players not to accept cuts ahead of deferrals.

Mesut Ozil started every game for Mikel Arteta before the break, apart from Arteta’s first match at Everton. He’d also started the seven league games before that, too, for Unai Emery. That’s 17 Premier League starts from 18 games before the pandemic hit. Ozil was also Man of the Match in his first game for Arteta in Arsenal’s Boxing Day game against Bournemouth.

Then the break came, the players were asked to take a paycut, Ozil refused, and he hasn’t been selected since.

Coincidence? Perhaps, but it’s a mighty big one if you ask me.

Miki and Mesut...Does this look like an unhappy relationship to you?
Miki and Mesut…Does this look like an unhappy relationship to you?

I put this theory to the Daily Cannon team and one asked me of the club would really go that far? “We just sacked all our scouts and said it was because of Covid,” I replied.

“True,” came the reply.

In addition to the scouts losing their jobs are ordinary people like you and me, many of whom are still waiting to hear if they will be amongst those to be cut when they really don’t have to be. Arseblog says pretty much all I’d want to on this subject, so there’s no need for me to repeat what he as already said so well.

He also made the point that it suits the owners for us to be angry at Mesut Ozil, for him to be the distraction that takes focus away from the Kroenkes and what they are up.

Knowing Ozil’s off-the-field record, though, I wouldn’t put it past him to reach out to the people made redundant and offer them financial assistance.

Assisting is, after all, what he does. When he is allowed to.

What do the Kroenke’s do apart from hoard wealth at the expense of others?

I don’t know if this is the reason Ozil is not being picked, but I’m going to leave you with the images below. Look at what Ozil is doing and Arteta is saying. He wanted to build his team around Ozil. He started him in every match and Ozil responded.

Then think about the only thing that happened during football’s break that you know about involving Mesut Ozil. If there had been something else, you know we would have heard about it because there is nothing more the UK media love than a bit of Ozil bashing.

He refused a pay cut without evidence it was required and he hasn’t played since.

Make of that what you will…