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Arteta was at the forefront of the discussions over a pay cut (Picture: Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta told Arsenal players that becoming the first Premier League side to take a coronavirus pay cut would send a powerful message about the strong values of the club.

The north London side announced on Monday that the first-team squad and staff had come to a collective agreement that they would give up 12.5 per cent of their salaries over the next 12 months.

While other top-flight clubs have stated they will be employing three-month wage deferrals, Arsenal are the only English team to agree to long-term reductions in pay, in order to ease the financial burden caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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According to ESPN, Spanish coach Arteta sat down with the first team and relayed the ‘wholesome’ values the Gunners hold, in an attempt to bring all players to a unanimous decision.

That didn’t come to fruition, as three Arsenal players reportedly rejected the proposal, including Mesut Ozil.

The German international, who earns £350,000-a-week, is said to be holding out in order to gauge how the money will be spent and the future financial implications of the agreement.

Despite initial reservations, the 31-year-old is believed to have reached a verbal agreement with the club to sacrifice an even higher percentage of his pay than the 12.5 per cent offered by his teammates and coaches.

Ozil could offer even more than 12.5 per cent of his wages (Picture: Getty Images)

A club statement on Monday read: ‘We are pleased to announce that we have reached a voluntary agreement with our first-team players, head coach and core coaching staff to help support the club at this critical time.

‘Reductions of total annual earnings by 12.5 per cent will come into effect this month, with the contractual paperwork being completed in the coming days.

‘If we meet specific targets in the seasons ahead, primarily linked to success on the pitch, the club will repay agreed amounts. We will be able to make those repayments as hitting these targets, which the players can directly influence, will mean our financial position will be stronger.

‘We are proud and grateful to our players and staff for pulling together to support our club, our people and our community in these unprecedented times which are some of the most challenging we have faced in our history.’

MORE: Gary Neville accuses Arsenal players of ‘outing’ Mesut Ozil and questions his future at the club

MORE: Mesut Ozil has been deliberately damaged by an Arsenal snitch, claims Ally McCoist

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