The crisis at Arsenal looks like it has deepened with reports that a row over certain players’ wages is brewing in the dressing room.
The Times have alleged that the wages of Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, disproportionately high relative to the rest of the squad, is causing some friction – particularly in light of Arsenal’s terrible form of late.
Ozil, in particular, is likely to have greater scrutiny placed on him given he fact that he earns significantly more than anyone else at the Emirates. He recently signed a new deal to remain at the club after months of speculation, but the form he has shown since seeing his wages rise to a staggering £350,000 per week has been well below-par for the German international.
Former Dortmund pair Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang, meanwhile, are said to be on £200,000 and £180,000 per week respectively, but their January arrivals have not brought about the change in fortunes that the Arsenal faithful and teammates would have been expecting and tension is growing.
Indeed, since the two started together for the first time in a 5-1 crushing of Everton last month, the Gunners have lost all three subsequent Premier League matches – as well as being humiliated in the Carabao Cup final and being given a sharp and unnecessary fright by Ostersunds in the Europa League.
The report goes on to suggest that it the disparity is causing issues in contract negotiations with other players, with the likes of Jack Wilshere, who will be a free agent in the summer as it stands, told that his own wages will not be increased if he opts to extend his stay.
With the top four looking like an impossibility right now, Arsenal’s best hope of reaching next season’s Champions League is by winning the Europa League. Standing in their immediate way in that task is AC Milan, one of Europe’s in-form teams. The two sides meet for the last 16 first leg on Thursday night.