PIERS MORGAN has branded £350,000-a-week Mesut Ozil “disgraceful” for allegedly turning down Arsenal’s 12.5 per cent pay cut.
The 2014 World Cup winner, 31, is believed to be one of three players who have not accepted the proposal by the club to help them financially amid the coronavirus crisis.
Ex-Real Madrid star Ozil is willing to reduce his salary in the future but only after the financial impact of the pandemic to the game becomes clearer, according to the Daily Mirror.
Arsenal confirmed yesterday they were the first Premier League club to agree wage cuts with their squad.
Except for the alleged trio, the rest of the players will take a hit of 12.5 per cent until March 2021.
However, should Arsenal qualify for the Champions League either this season or next, then the players would be due a large bonus as part of the agreement.
And any players sold for a profit will also be due to get their money refunded.
But despite Arsenal declaring their “pride” at the decision, TV presenter Morgan wasted no time in blasting Ozil.
Responding to a journalist’s tweet reporting Ozil’s decision, the Gunners supporter wrote: “Disgraceful, but no surprise – Ozil’s been getting £350k-a-week for doing nothing since 2017.”
And he followed that up today while hosting Good Morning Britain, saying: “Shame on you Mesut Ozil. Shame on you.
“Some of the younger players, who are on far less money than you, are taking a 12.5 per cent pay cut, a minuscule drop in the ocean for you, and you don’t want to do it because you want to see how the financial situation plays out while you are sitting on your backside on your Playstation every night rather than actually playing football. Really?
“I’ve reserved my condemnations for football clubs who have been furloughing, using taxpayers’ money when they have plenty themselves. Liverpool, Tottenham, Newcastle… all got shamed into doing U-turns on this kind of thing.
“The players I thought were getting a bad rap – but this is why some of them deserve a bad rap.
“People like Mesut Ozil who have just said ‘Sorry, no. I may be one of the highest-paid players at Arsenal, one of the highest-paid in the world, I might be worth gazillions and sitting on my backside at the moment doing nothing, but no I’m not going to take a pay cut.’”
However, not everyone was as critical as a number of Ozil’s fans hit back. One tweeted: “Mesut Ozil contributes massively to charities and local businesses around the world…he’s a world class footballer who is always the scapegoat. Hospitals, charities and young disadvantaged children all benefit from Ozil’s contributions. Get off your high horse Piers.”
Another said: “Mesut Ozil is a man who has given MILLIONS to different charities & is a force for good – yet an easy target.
“I’ll wait before judging & im not even a Gooner.”
A fellow Gooner wrote: “People who are saying ‘OMG Mesut Ozil has refused to cut his wage when he is earning 300k a week hes such a bad person’ well dont forget how much money hes donated to charities. He was even helping people in the middle east refugee camps on his wedding day.”
As another said: “Mesut Ozil has done plenty for charity over the years and during this pandemic. You have to wonder how much trust he has in the Arsenal hierarchy.”
Ozil’s agent Dr Erkut Sogut recently said footballers should not take pay cuts with wage deferrals being a better option – something the PFA also agrees with.
He 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.”