Never backwards in coming forwards with an opinion, footballer-turned-pundit, Stan Collymore, has laid into Arsenal owner, Stan Kroenke, and thrown his support right behind Mesut Ozil for his recent stance in not agreeing to a 12.5 percent pay cut in line with his team-mates.
On a reported £350,000 per week, a 12.5 loss would still leave the Gunners’ talisman with over £300,000 per week, but Collymore argues that’s missing the point.
“For Stan Kroenke to ask Arsenal’s players to take a 12.5 per cent pay cut is a liberty and Mesut Ozil is absolutely right to tell him where to stick it,” Collymore wrote in a column for the Daily Mirror.
“Kroenke and his wife, Ann, a Walmart heiress, are worth around £8billion and, as a club, Arsenal aren’t exactly struggling financially […] I thought it was a bit naughty of Arsenal to use boss Mikel Arteta as their propaganda merchant by asking his players to take a cut as well. But fair play to Ozil, he wasn’t having any of it.
“[…] Before people criticise me for sticking up for Ozil, I’ll remind you that he has a contract which says that under all circumstances he will be paid his wages.
“He signed that contract with an organisation which cashes cheques for £200million, £300m, £400m year after year, so it is a reasonable expectation that only 40 to 50 days after it last played a game, for whatever reason, the club can still afford to pay him.
“I can’t pretend to be a monster fan of Ozil the footballer in terms of the impact he has made at Arsenal but he has every single right — legally and morally — to take this stand.”
A perceived laziness to his natural game has been a potential flashpoint in the past for Ozil, and his current stance, when many are struggling to get through the coronavirus pandemic unscathed financially, isn’t likely to help endear him to an Arsenal faithful who pay his wages every week.
However, whilst it may not be the most popular of decisions, as Collymore rightly notes, the player is well within his rights to wait and see what’s next regarding the pandemic, before making a more considered and informed decision in light of any further advice.