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Mesut Ozil explains why he didn't accept a pay cut at Arsenal

Although totally out of favour under Mikel Arteta, Ozil is determined to see out his contract at Arsenal.

Mesut Ozil, shading from the sun during a June clash with Southampton.
Mesut Ozil, shading from the sun during a June clash with Southampton.
Image: Andrew Matthews/NMC Pool

MESUT OZIL HAS reiterated his desire to see out his lucrative contract at Arsenal, in spite of falling out of favour under Mikel Arteta. 

Ozil is the club’s highest-paid player, and his £350,000-per-week remuneration earned scrutiny again last week as the club announced 55 redundancies. This was the latest round of cost-cutting at the club: (most) players took pay cuts, rather than deferrals, following the outbreak of the pandemic. The players took cuts on the agreement club staff would keep their jobs, but that proved not to be the case. 

“My position is clear”, Ozil told David Ornstein of The Athletic. 

“I’m here through to the last day of our agreement and I’ll give everything I have for this club. Situations like these will never break me, they only make me stronger. I showed in the past that I can come back into the team and I will show it again.”

Ozil’s contract expires at the end of next season. 

It is also revealed in the Athletic’s interview that Ozil did not accept a pay cut when the squad were asked to by the club. He denies he is the only Arsenal player not to accept the cut. 

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Ozil said he was open to a deferral, but wanted more information from and consultation with the club over a potential pay cut. 

“We were rushed into it without proper consultation.

“For anyone in this situation, you have a right to know everything, to understand why it is happening and where the money is going. But we didn’t get enough details, we just had to give a decision. It was far too quick for something so important and there was a lot of pressure.

“This was not fair, especially for the young guys, and I refused. I had a baby at home and have commitments to my family here, in Turkey and in Germany — to my charities, too, and also a new project we started to support people in London that was from the heart and not for publicity.

“People who know me know exactly how generous I am and, as far as I’m aware, I was not the only player who rejected the cut in the end, but only my name came out. I guess that’s because it is me and people have been trying for two years to destroy me, to make me unhappy, to push an agenda they hope will turn the supporters against me and paint a picture that is not true.

“Possibly the decision affected my chances on the pitch, I don’t know. But I’m not afraid to stand up for what I feel is right — and when you see what has happened now with the jobs, maybe I was.”

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