Mikel Arteta insists the layoffs were requested at Arsenal to protect the club’s future as he moved to defend the transfer business that followed the job cuts.
Chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and former football boss Raul Sanllehi announced on August 5 that Arsenal would be looking to carry out 55 layoffs as the financial damage suffered during the coronavirus pandemic went into effect.
The PA news agency knows that the cuts have occurred in all football departments, as well as in commercial and administrative roles.
The call for such cuts has been met with broad derision by supporters, with a change.org petition calling for the decision to be reversed.
Those who were shocked by the news were further agitated when the Gunners announced Willian’s signing with a large three-year contract the following week.
Two more disbursements are expected in the coming days as the club looks set to announce a new improved deal for captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the signing of Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes for a payout of around £ 22m.
But Arteta, whose side will face Liverpool in the Community Shield on Saturday after winning their 14th FA Cup record on 1 August, defended the club’s decision.
“I understand,” he replied when asked if he understood why such criticism was directed at Arsenal.
“If you look only financially, you can get some contradicting messages.
“But what is very clear is that the club had a very thorough plan on how it needed to restructure to function better and be more stable for the future.
“They were very convincing with every argument they gave us all that it was the right thing to do.”
Earlier this year, most Arsenal players agreed to a 12.5% pay cut to prevent other club staff from being fired or fired.
This figure dropped to 7.5% after winning the FA Cup final and subsequent Europa League qualification.
Some of those players would have been unhappy, then, with the decision to make the cuts – with the PA realizing that some first-team squad members soon got in touch with staff members who were at risk.
Mesut Ozil recently explained that he did not suffer a salary cut because he thought the decision was “hasty” and questions and concerns were not answered.
Arteta said the wage cuts were the “right thing” for the club, but said accepting them didn’t give the players a voice in subsequent decisions.
“Obviously it’s really sad and it was during the COVID period that we had to make the decision to get our players to contribute to the pay cuts,” he said.
“One of the reasons was to keep some. We have tried to do the right thing and the club is trying to protect the future as much as possible.
“The players were happy to contribute and help the club in this difficult financial situation.
“That doesn’t mean you’ll have a say in every decision the club makes afterwards. It can’t work like that.
“At the end of the day it wasn’t an obligation, it was a choice if you wanted to do it or not.”
The club confirmed the appointment of assistant coaches Carlos Cuesta, Andreas Georgson and Miguel Molina on Friday, following the departures of Freddie Ljungberg and Sal Bibbo, while Jordan Reece replaces Liverpool physicist Chris Morgan.