Hector Bellerin admits that conversations about pay cuts were tough but he believes the squad and the club as a whole have come closer together as a result.
The Gunners remain the only club in the Premier League to strike an agreement with their players about a cut with Mikel Arteta’s squad agreeing to a 12.5% reduction in their wages for a period of 12 months.
While there are performance-related clauses that can see that percentage reduced, it’s estimated the agreement could represent a £25 million saving in total.
As the club’s PFA representative, the Spaniard headed up negotiations on behalf of the players with most accepting the final terms.
Speaking about the situation in a Zoom call with Prince William – organised to raise awareness of men’s mental health – Bellerin said:
“We’ve gone through some tough conversations as a team and as staff members with the pay cut we had to decide between us.
“We all did this for the good of the club and the people that work for the club.
“I think, and I don’t just speak for me and Auba, but many of the players and the coaches, we got many messages from the staff saying they now feel safe and that they can still work and get paid.
“They are situations that could build negativity but we found something positive in it and it’s brought us together as a family.”
It remains to be seen whether other Premier League clubs follow suit. While the Gunners hierarchy were quick to foist the issue on the first team other clubs have been more patient and have waited to see where the chips fall on the money front.
With matches set to resume next week, the top flight looks increasingly likely to escape the financial apocalypse of an abandoned season. It could still happen if there’s a second wave of coronavirus but the collective will to complete the campaign appears strong.
There will still be losses, of course. Clubs need to rebate broadcasters around £330 million in total and the loss of matchday revenue from now through next season is potentially huge. It’ll be interesting to see if sides on an equal financial footing go cap in hand to their players or try to mitigate losses elsewhere.