Arsenal: What's going wrong for Mikel Arteta?
Arsenal’s precarious position might have come as a surprise to most but the club have factored in the prospect of a drop to the Championship by inserting relegation clauses into the players’ contracts. The Gunners have not won in the Premier League since November 1 and currently sit just four points above the bottom three in 15th position, after five defeats in their last seven matches.
The financial impact of relegation on any team is colossal but for a club the size and stature of Arsenal it would be disastrous.
Whilst the idea of relegation clauses are commonplace in football, it is believed the majority of the Premier League’s historic top six do not include them in players’ contracts as a drop to the second tier is considered incomprehensible.
However, the north London club are said to have inserted 25 per cent reduction clauses in the contracts of many of their expensively-assembled squad.
Arsenal have obviously never been relegated from the Premier League and it has been more than 100 years since they dropped out of English football’s top flight.
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The last time they were relegated came in the 1912-13 season, when as Woolwich Arsenal, they finished bottom of the First Division.
With the money involved in football these days, relegation would be catastrophic for a club like Arsenal.
The Gunners have a wage bill of more than £150m and are said to pay Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil around £350,000-a-week alone.
Summer signing Willian signed a huge three-year contract in the summer despite being 32 and there are a host of other big earners at the Emirates Stadium.
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The specifics of the relegation clauses are unknown but The Telegraph reports some of the squad have had 25 per cent reductions inserted. It is unclear if the bigger earners have higher drop-offs or if the clauses are across the whole squad.
Considering Arsenal’s current plight and their concerning league position, the club’s hierarchy would argue this is just good planning on their behalf.
However, the perceived necessity for such clauses at a club which had been a mainstay in the Champions League under Arsene Wenger will have fans arguing it is an indication of the Gunners’ dramatic fall from grace.
Arsenal have not won in the Premier League since they beat Manchester United 1-0 on November 1 and currently sit second bottom of the form table, with only Sheffield United having a worse recent record.
Mikel Arteta’s men have secured victories over Dundalk, Rapid Wien and Molde in the Europa League during that time and will be hoping for further respite from their league form when they take on Manchester City in the Carabao Cup tonight.
The Spaniard said: “This is what we want to use it for. This is a competition that we want to try to win.
“We had two difficult opponents before with Leicester City and Liverpool.
“We managed to beat them both and now we’re one step closer to Wembley.
“It’s a really nice game for us to play because it’s the type of game we’re looking for through the season.”
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