Arsenal players question Stan Kroenke amid pay cut stand-off

Arsenal chiefs remain at odds with the playing staff after a proposed 12.5% pay cut was rejected.

The north London club’s hierarchy are exploring options to help offset the financial cost of the coronavirus pandemic which has brought a halt to the Premier League and deprived Arsenal of the matchday revenue which plays a significant role in covering the cost of their £230million yearly wage bill.

Under the proposal, the players would recoup any losses were they to qualify for next season’s Champions League but with such a prospect only a remote possibility given their current predicament, a deferral, which could be as much as 20%, is said to remain their preferred option.

Hector Bellerin, Arsenal’s Professional Footballers Association (PFA) representative, rather than club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, polled his teammates earlier this week and went back to the board with the results which failed to demonstrate a clear consensus.

According to The Athletic, while only a tick or cross was required, some players offered additional feedback questioning why majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, whose personal fortune is estimated to stand at around $10 billion, could not dig into his own pockets to ease the club’s financial situation.

The players were told that Financial Fair Play rules have rendered personal contributions a complicated issue, although it is anticipated that guidelines will be relaxed during these uncertain times.

Kroenke has been an almost universally unpopular figure among the club’s fanbase, particularly from the moment he assumed full control in August 2018.

While he has continued to plough money into the LA Rams, who had been due to open a new $5billion stadium in July, he has been conspicuous by his absence in north London and practically severed all lines of communication with the fans.

His son, Josh, has played a more active role in recent times, addressing supporters last summer to update them on transfer strategy and addressed the squad in person following the sacking of Unai Emery late last year.

Several players are also reported to harbour doubts over the timing of Arsenal’s proposal given the full extent of the likely financial damage, while those whose long-term futures are uncertain want guarantees they will be recompensed should they be sold once the transfer window re-opens.

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