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Gunner Thoughts

Arsenal Negotiations: Where do things stand?

There have been bits and pieces of details surrounding the Arsenal-player, wage cut negotiations, but given this is a topic that likely should have remained behind closed doors, it makes sense that not everything is known. I won’t spend much time on the aspect of leaked documents, my suspicions around them, and the reasons this could be to spare you the readings of a conspiracy theory sounding tale – but Arsenal probably leaked them. That’s all I’ll say.

For those that have not followed this saga every step of the way, I will give you a quick rundown of the timeline.

As you know, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, football matches have been put on hold, the season temporarily suspended (subject to change), and clubs have been left to figure out how to pay gameday staff with no games, how to mitigate their losses given no match earning or TV revenue, and how to generally stay afloat. There are many issues but we will focus on these 3.

In order to solve these problems, Arsenal offered the players a locked in, 12.5% wage cut that was rejected. These details were leaked to the public which created some rage from certain fans as outsiders scoffed at the suggestion of “selfishness” from footballers. Arsenal players sought an offer that would assure those cut wages would go to keeping staff paid and prevent the club from needing to furlough employees.

A few days later, Arsenal released a club statement that included the information that the executive team would be waiving 33% of their earnings over the next 12 months. There were no further details surrounding that number leaving some skeptical of what it meant, but it was certainly a way for the higher-ups to lead by example.

Yesterday, David Ornstein of The Athletic announced a breakthrough in player negotiation after Mikel Arteta made a pivotal intervention to strike a balance between supporting the players and looking out for the club. It was believed that Arsenal players were on the verge of accepting a 12.5% wage cut but without signatures on the line, the situation remained in a delicate state.

While this is an event that in all likelihood should have played out internally, today we were given a few more details surrounding the club’s offer.

According to the Mirror, Arsenal players will take a 12.5% wage cut over the next 12 months, but specific outcomes to the season will result in funds being returned:

  • Qualification for next season’s Europa League will reduce the pay cut from 12.5% to 7.5%.
  • Qualification for next season’s Champions League will secure a full rebate.
  • Qualification for the 2021/22 Champions League will secure a full rebate.
  • Players sold during this period for a profit will secure a full rebate.
  • If Arsenal qualify and win the 2020/21 Champions League each player will be eligible for £500,000 bonus.
  • If Arsenal qualify and win the 2020/21 Europa League each player will be eligible for £100,000 bonus.

While I am not so good as to turn my nose up at someone offering me half a million, there is something laughable about the players only receiving that amount while the club itself would be pocketing almost £100M (based on Liverpool’s winnings from last season).

Kudos to the work that Mikel Arteta did to see this through. In a situation that had the chance to turn sour, he showed us all the respect both players and club have for him and his understanding of the needs of the players and club. Every report about him seems to increase my level of respect for him, my excitement for his future at the club, and puts to ease some of my worries about this resulting in players being unhappy with him and Arsenal.

The other person that deserves a massive amount of credit is Hector Bellerin. His ability to navigate these waters as a player with little past experience of a situation like this – because, you know, no one has any – does not go unnoticed. This type of leadership is fantastic to see from the 24-year-old right back.

From my understanding we are still waiting for this deal to be completed and signed given there are an abundance of complexities due to the differences in people’s personal contracts, but Arsenal are set to be the first team in the league to come to an agreement over this.

Stay healthy – stay well – stay home and save lives.

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