Mesut Ozil has defended his decision not to take a pay-cut and has insisted that he will stay at Arsenal until the end of his contract.
Ozil, who is currently on £350,000 a week, was one of the players at Arsenal who rejected a 12.5% pay cut from the club amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The German midfielder hasn’t played a single minute for Mikel Arteta’s side since the restart, and only featured 23 times across all competitions for Arsenal this season.
Speaking to The Athletic, Ozil was asked about the pay-cut and outlined that he felt players were left in the dark in regards to the financial situation at the club.
“As players, we all wanted to contribute. But we needed more information and many questions were unanswered. Everyone was fine with a deferral while there was so much uncertainty – I would have been OK to take a bigger share – and then a cut if required, once the football and financial outlook was clearer.
“But 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.
Ozil had been heavily criticised for the decision but outlined that it stems from ‘people who have been trying to destroy’ him for two years.
“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.”
The former Real Madrid man also insisted that he would honour his contract at Arsenal and that he is keen to come back into the team and show what he can do.
“My position is clear. 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.”