Emmanuel Petit has urged Mesut Ozil to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with his team-mates during this time of crisis.
All but three members of Arsenal ’s squad have agreed to take a 12.5 per cent pay cut on their salaries to help the club through the coronavirus pandemic.
And Ozil, who earns a whopping £350,000 a week, is one of them.
The German ace insists he will consider taking an even bigger cut once the economic picture at the Emirates is clearer.
But until he is shown the extent of the damage caused and sees where the money the players are giving up is going then he won’t be paying a penny.
Petit understands his caution, and is sick and tired of people making Ozil a scapegoat at the club.
But he also believes that, as a high earner and senior member of the team, he should have stood by the younger players who are giving up their monies despite earning nowhere near as much.
Petit said: “Ozil is an easy target. For the last few years, he has always been targeted for the same reason — for the poor performances on the pitch and the fact he is earning so much money.
“But I understand he is doing a lot of things for charity and providing a lot of things for kids and communities as well.
“A lot of players are doing a lot of things through their foundations and carrying out charitable acts, and just because the coronavirus is hitting all of us, it doesn’t mean those players aren’t doing other things to help out people.
“I have seen from Mesut that a lot of things have been done for charity over the past few years and we can thank him for that.
“But on top of that, when you see the big reaction when he doesn’t want to take a pay cut on 12.5 per cent of his wages, a lot of people don’t understand that.
“It’s quite difficult for most of the players — not for the top players because they are earning a lot of money.
“But there are a lot of players who don’t earn as much money as they do so it’s a difficult question to answer.
“Ozil hasn’t said he won’t take a pay cut, he has just said he wants to wait sometime to see what is going on for the club.
“Because financially big clubs are hit by the coronavirus but when the competition starts again with the TV rights and all the sponsors they are going to get the money back as well.
“So you need to be cautious. We need to step back step sometimes to analyse a situation.
“But the main thing for everyone is to show solidarity.”
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