The Athletic’s James McNicholas believes Arsenal’s decision to suggest player pay cuts “might have damaged some of the positive feeling and unity that was coming out of the club prior to the lockdown”.
Speaking on a recent episode of Arseblog’s Arsecast Extra, McNicholas was asked if he thought the situation regarding the wage cuts and the way it was eventually implemented has created an issue for some of the players, to which he responded: “It could have done. Certainly, there was unhappiness about it at the time from some quarters of the squad and there was discomfort about the way negotiations were handled.
Do you believe the pay cuts may have damaged the positive feeling created at Arsenal prior to the lockdown?
“I think certain players didn’t appreciate the head coach becoming involved because they felt it conflated a salary question with a selection question. Inevitably, it’s a risky thing for the club to have done because it can jeopardise those relationships.
“I don’t know for sure. It might have damaged some of the positive feeling and unity that was coming out of the club prior to the lockdown.”
Arsenal returned to action last Wednesday at Manchester City and despite having remained unbeaten in the league in 2020 up until the lockdown, they’ve lost back-to-back fixtures since the competition’s restart.
The club announced back in April that the players and first-team staff had agreed to take a ‘voluntary’ pay cut that would see their annual incomes reduced by 12.5% (as per BBC Sport), but it was also reported that not everybody was initially in favour of the proposal. McNicholas believes it may have had some sort of negative impact and we don’t dispute that, but in our view, Arsenal’s poor results are more related to their inability to defend on the pitch, having already conceded five goals since the restart.