There are many reasons Oleksandr Zinchenko opted to leave Manchester City for his boyhood club in the summer in a move many found surprising, but when you see the difference in his wages, it becomes a lot clearer.
I’m not sure I’ve come across anything more surprising than when I learned that Manchester City ‘only’ paid Oleksandr Zinchenko £20kpw.
For us mere mortals, that’s still a live changing sum, but what he now gets at Arsenal makes that look like chicken feed.
Zinchenko started his professional career at FC Ufa in Russia, where he made his debut in 2015. He later joined Manchester City in 2016 and spent his first season on loan at Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.
After returning to Manchester City in 2017, Zinchenko established himself as a versatile player capable of playing in midfield as well as at left-back. He won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup, and four League Cups with the club.
Zinchenko is also a regular member of the Ukrainian national team, having made his debut in 2015. He has since earned over 50 caps for his country.
Why, then, were the mega-rich Manchester City only paying him £20kpw?
That’s a question I cannot answer, but I do know when he signed for Arsenal they increased his weekly wage to £150k – a x 7.5rise.
It is a similar story with Gabriel Jesus who was picking up £75kpw when he signed with City. They increased that to £90kpw in 2018/19 but he now earns the same as Zinchenko at Arsenal – £150kpw.
Of course, Mikel Arteta had to sell the pair on what he was doing at Arsenal but I’m fairly sure they money on offer helped, as well.
That being said, the pair clearly aren’t motivated solely by money. We’ve seen what happens in that case, you get late era Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levels of performances and Zinchenko and Jesus have offered the exact opposite of that.
The interesting thing, really, was how City were paying them so little in comparison to the money they like to splash around.