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Arsenal stars close to agreeing wage cut after Mikel Arteta intervention to seek £25m deal

Arsenal stars close to agreeing wage cut after Mikel Arteta intervention to seek £25m deal (Image: GETTY)

Arsenal are close to resolving their pay cut row, according to reports. The Gunners are keen for their first-team squad to take a salary reduction to help the running over the club over the next 12 months.

The coronavirus crisis is set to hit the Londoners as hard as any other team in the Premier League, with their American owners to be hit in the pocket due to the extra investment that will be required to build the SoFi Stadium for NFL outfit the Los Angeles Rams.

And so Arsenal chiefs are looking to bring down the club’s staggering wage bill to avoid them facing any problems with paying their non-playing staff.

But earlier this week Mikel Arteta’s team rejected a proposal from the club’s hierarchy to take a 12.5 per cent cut to their salaries from April 2020 to March 2021.

The Professional Footballers’ Association have recommended players not to agree to pay cuts, having rejected a Premier League suggestion for a league-wide 30 per cent reduction.

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Arsenal stars close to agreeing wage cut after Mikel Arteta intervention to seek £25m deal (Image: GETTY)

Arteta personally intervened on Wednesday night, holding a lengthy conference call with his players in order to help find a resolution to the matter.

Thirteen players voted in favour of the cuts while 14 voted against them, but now, The Athletic say that Arteta’s chat with them has swayed their thinking.

They said the Gunners are increasingly close to finalising an agreement to help cut down on their wage bill, which stands at £230million.

That figure is less than only eight clubs across Europe despite having not played in the Champions League since the 2016-17 season.

Arsenal players were initially confused as to why they were being asked to take cuts rather than a pay deferral, which would mean them being rebated the lost wages at a later date.

But Arteta’s direct address has convinced the majority of the squad to accept the cuts, which would see them become the first Premier League team to impose such sanctions.

The 38-year-old promised to back his players whatever decision they chose upon, but also sought to explain the thinking behind the club’s strategy.

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The cuts would not come into place whatsoever if the English top-flight returns and Arsenal secure a spot in next season’s Champions League.

Meanwhile qualifying for the Europa League would see the cut in salaries drop from 12.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

The Athletic report that it is not yet certain what will happen to those players who rejected the proposals.

Arsenal’s squad were hoping to agree a 20 per cent pay deferral and wanted assurances that non-playing staff would be protected and that players who are sold by the club in the summer receive their lost income in full.

Arsenal stars close to agreeing wage cut after Mikel Arteta intervention to seek £25m deal (Image: GETTY)

They feared that the cut was part of a long-term plan to trim down the club’s wage bill, described as a “Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget” by director Josh Kroenke.

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But Arsenal bosses are confident that reductions will enable them to better plan for the next 12 months and beyond, whereas a deferral would only delay the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis.

It has not yet been officially signed off but is increasingly likely to happen.

And Arsenal players are also said to be open to donating a month of their wages to help make certain non-playing staff do not lose their employment, with Arteta having posed that idea to the squad on Wednesday night.

In a statement on the same day, Arsenal said: “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.

“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.

“What is clear is that this is one of the most challenging periods in our near 134-year history.

Our owners, Kroenke, Sports & Entertainment, are fully committed to supporting Arsenal through this challenging time.

“We are also carefully controlling our costs. We have stopped most capital spend, and our discretionary operating expenditure is being strictly controlled. Earlier this month, our executive team volunteered to waive more than a third of their earnings over the next 12 months.

“We are hugely grateful for the support of our people. Their togetherness and resolve know no bounds, even though very many of them face the challenge of having no work to do while the season is suspended.

“We are fortunate to be able to count on their commitment and co-operation at this time.

“We are in ongoing contact with our employees through video conferences, newsletters and team meetings.

“We have made it clear to them that we are not considering redundancies, and we are fully focussed on protecting their well-being, jobs and salaries.

“All our employees are receiving their full salaries and we plan to continue this. We are not currently intending to use the Government’s furlough scheme.

“In addition to our employees, we are extending our commitment to pay casual workers on our payroll from the end of April to the end of May.

“For our matchday casual workers this means they will be paid for all four Premier League games that have been postponed and will be paid again should they work at these games once re-arranged.”

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