By Daily Mail for Lolwe digital
Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have laid into Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil following the revelation that he is refusing to take a pay cut at Arsenal.
The Premier League club have been in discussions with their players and announced on Monday evening that they had reached an agreement with all players and coaching staff on a 12.5 per cent cut for a period of 12 months.
However, as revealed exclusively by Sportsmail, it is understood Ozil is one of three players refusing to accept the drop in salary, and is instead pushing to have his wages deferred.
The 31-year-old is the top earner at the Emirates Stadium, on £350,000 a week and is not totally convinced of the need for a pay reduction amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The news has been met with disgust though by Neville and Carragher, who insist it is not a good look for the World Cup winner.
‘His [Ozil’s] agent did him no favour when he came out three or four weeks ago when he said let’s wait and see. I always felt this would be a problem, Carragher told Sky Sports News during The Football Show.
‘There’s two strands of players who might not fully engage, and that’s a young lad who maybe didn’t have the revenue, or a player coming to the end of his contract.
‘But the fact the highest-paid player hasn’t done it… the rest of the squad has agreed it, you’ve got to go with the rest of the players. As you say, it’s a massive PR own goal.
‘I’m not going to have a go at him for the wages he’s earned, blame the people who are paying him, but the highest-paid member of the squad should be one who sets the example.’
Neville went one step further with his criticism of the 31-year-old, calling his actions indefensible.
‘The principle of not being together as a group is indefensible. You’re a team on and off the pitch,’ he added.
‘I wouldn’t like to be one of the three who hasn’t agreed. It will alienate and isolate them from the rest. When a group of players are voting on something, you go along with it.
‘It just demonstrates the complexities of what is going on at Premier League clubs right now. Football is eating itself from the inside out.
‘Most clubs, players, are not at war but they’re in a massive battle. The players don’t trust the clubs and this is just another example of it.’
Speaking earlier this month Ozil’s agent Dr Erkut Sogut said: ‘Deferral is an option but not to agree a cut today when the clubs may still make the same profit as last year.
‘What the exact financial impact is on the clubs, we can see three to six months later – but we can’t see it today.’