I hope you’re all staying safe, healthy and not missing Mustafi too much!
Let’s take our minds off everything that’s happening in the world right now and chat all things Arsenal for a little bit, shall we?
WAGE CUTS… FOR SOME
Let’s tackle the massive 12.5% of an elephant in the room first.
(Some of) the players, staff and executives have agreed to take a wage cut of 12.5% to help ease the financial pressures that have been put on the club during this crisis.
It seems unbelievable that a business that pays its players so much money is in such trouble, but that’s the sad reality of the situation. With no matchday revenue coming through the door and TV money currently halted, all clubs are being hit, no matter their size.
Our players were locked in negotiations with the club for some time, with the squad said to have been cautious about where their money would actually be going. Some believed that it was just a sneaky way for Arsenal to reduce their wage bill, something the club has been trying to do for a while now.
It seemed as though the players were always happy to agree to a cut, as long as they were given assurances that their money would go towards paying matchday stewards, chefs, groundsmen and all the other lifeblood staff of our club.
Credit where it’s due, our players and staff are the first to accept a pay cut in the Premier League and that’s something to take a lot of pride in. But, of course, it’s come with an element of drama too…
Ozil is said to be one of three players who have rejected this wage cut in its current form. Instead, Ozil would prefer to take a wage deferral where he would be guaranteed to make his money back in future without having to reach certain targets.
Ozil has always been an easy target for criticism because of his £350,000-a-week wages. I know that he does huge amounts of work for charity, but I must admit that I was left bitterly disappointed by his decision.
I don’t think it’s particularly fair that a player on a significantly smaller wage, like Saka, for example, has accepted a cut, whereas Ozil keeps his full pay. I think this should have been something that all the players unanimously agreed to, otherwise it shouldn’t have happened at all.
Now we find ourselves in a situation where it seems almost inevitable that divisions will start to appear within the squad. I hope I’m wrong as a dressing room split is the last thing we need right now.
The transfer rumour mill is in full flow and whispers that Auba is on his way out of the club only seem to be getting louder.
Real Madrid are said to be at the front of the queue to take our captain on a cut-price deal before his contract expires next summer.
Would I be devastated if Auba left us? Absolutely. Would I be surprised? Not in the slightest. He’s a truly world-class player in the twilight of his career and deserves to experience what it’s like to play for a European giant like Madrid.
I certainly wouldn’t hold a grudge against Auba for wanting a new challenge. He gave it his all everytime he stepped out onto the pitch and he’s left me with some amazing memories from all of the goals he’s scored.
Part of me still wishes that Arteta can convince him to stay and we can build our exciting young team around a world-class striker like Auba.
Miracles do happen…
From one potential departure, to one potential arrival.
Thomas Partey is the name on everyone’s lips after Arsenal reportedly bid £45m to sign the Atletico Madrid midfielder.
If you’ve not seen much of Partey before, believe me when I tell you that he’s a seriously class operator in front of Diego Simeone’s watertight defence.
Partey has all the ingredients needed to be a top Premier League defensive midfielder; power, pace, strength and technical ability.
While I would prefer it if we spent our summer budget sorting out our suspect defence, if Partey becomes available for a good price, then we would be foolish to let him slip through the net.
My only concern with this deal is that Laca might end up going in the other direction, with it being no secret whatsoever that Simeone is a massive admirer of him.
We definitely haven’t heard the end of this one yet.
SOCKS OVER KNEES + REEBOK BOOTS
And finally… we all know how influential Henry was to a generation of footballers on the pitch, but what about his influence on fashion?
In a particularly wholesome exchange between Thierry and Kevin-Prince Boateng, Boateng admitted that our former captain influenced his career in a completely different way.
Henry’s unique style of pulling his socks up right over his knees was apparently something that inspired young players everywhere.
It’s a nice reminder of just how cool and slick Henry was in everything he did. He was a one of a kind player and a true trailblazer.
Long live the king!