Arsenal have began preparing for relegation.
Christmas is all about fun, so let’s kick off with a quiz question: who, along with Arsenal, are the only sides never to be relegated from the Premier League? Answer to follow.
What doesn’t bring quite as much joy is the state of Arsenal Football Club. A prestigious outfit revered in many corners of the globe for their classy, elegant demeanour to go hand-in-hand with a style of football cherished by lovers of the beautiful game.
So much of the latter no longer holds weight.
14 matches into the 2020/21 Premier League season, and a once foreign concept has now morphed from background mumbling into fully audible conversation: the fear of relegation. Who’d ever have thought.
Relegation clauses are a common feature in the contracts of players tied to clubs needing contingency plans to prepare for the worst. Usually, these include newly promoted sides and those whose futures in the top-flight are always at risk. Not top six clubs. Not Arsenal.
Revealed by the Daily Mail, Arsenal have followed suit.
Indeed, it appears talk of dropping into the second tier has seeped into the minds of the hierarchy, who’ve included pay-cut clauses into player deals. If the unthinkable were to occur, those in red and white would face a 25% reduction on their salaries.
Whether this applies to all members of the squad or not isn’t known, but ‘numerous’ squad members would be impacted. Some may even be hit with bigger cuts.
It’s no secret that Arsenal are partial to dishing out hefty wages for players, a practice they became most known for with the £350k-per-week salary handed out to Mesut Ozil in January 2018.
The German’s impressive wage packet accounts for a large part of the eye-watering £150m the Gunners shell out every year to their squad. He’s since been caught up by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who earns a similar figure having penned a new long-term contract back in September.
Willian earns a basic salary of £100k-per-week, although bonuses and other clauses see that figure rise considerably.
Lots of players, earning lots of money, facing the prospect of not only have their reputations tarnished, but their wages slashed. Arsenal have planned for doomsday.
Are they jumping the gun, or is this a worrying acceptance of their increasingly weakening status as a once prized institution?
Answer: United, Sp*rs, Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea