Arsenal have taken an unprecedented step for a traditional member of the Premier League elite to safeguard against the financial impact of relegation.
The Gunners are 15th in the Premier League table after 14 games, a single point above a Burnley side who boast a game in hand, and only three more clear of Fulham in 18th.
Mikel Arteta has already shown the pressure he is under by reeling off some bizarre statistics during a recent press conference, while ‘factions’ are said to have developed in a ‘toxic’ dressing-room.
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But the Daily Telegraph have shed further light on the plight in north London, revealing that Arsenal ‘have planned for the doomsday scenario’ of dropping into the Championship.
It is claimed that Arsenal inserted clauses into the contracts of ‘several players’ for an automatic 25 per cent wage cut to come into effect in the event of relegation.
‘It is unclear whether or not the 25 per cent reduction figure, which some players would face, is a squad-wide policy or whether any of the higher earners could be hit by even bigger cuts,’ Matt Law writes.
Such clauses are common practice throughout the Premier League but it is stressed that the bigger clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham – have never gone to such lengths in the modern era.
Chelsea dropped as low as 16th in December 2015 yet ‘had not planned for the threat of relegation’ and thus had no such clauses in player contracts.
The Arsenal deals ‘are thought to be relatively new’. Law states that ‘many stalwarts of the Arsene Wenger era never had them during their careers’.
It is uncertain when the clauses were put into contracts, as well as which players have been subjected to them. Still, it’s fun.