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Arsene Wenger was at the club for 22 years (Picture: Getty Images)

Martin Keown believes legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger would have brought the squad to a collective decision over taking coronavirus pay cuts.

The Gunners announced on Monday that the first-team squad and staff have agreed to take a 12.5 per cent reduction in their salary for the next 12 months.

However, three players, including £350k-a-week midfielder Mesut Ozil, have reportedly declined the proposal due to concerns over how the money will be spent.

Boss Mikel Arteta sat down with the team and relayed the fact that becoming the first Premier League side to accept pay cuts would reinforce the club’s strong values.

However, Gunners hero Keown says if Wenger was still involved at the Emirates Stadium, there might have been a different outcome.

‘I’m going to suggest that he should still be at the club in some capacity, and I think if he had have been, these sorts of situations [he was] first class in dealing with,’ he told talkSPORT.

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Ozil is reportedly one of three players to reject a pay cut (Picture: Getty Images)

‘The message would have gone out very strongly to the players, I understand they want to know all the facts and the situation of the football club before they commit to large deferrals or wages they’re not going to receive, but by now the principle of why they’re doing it should have sunk in.

‘I assume there are members of staff, and they don’t all earn huge amounts of money, who have been asked to take a 12 per cent deferral in their wages, and you got top players who are not doing that

‘If we were in a situation and I was one of the top-earning players at the football club, and I knew that all the members of staff [were taking cuts] how could I actually look them in the eye when I go back to work with them again.’

Keown says the lack of a collective agreement between all players speaks of disharmony within the Arsenal ranks.

He added: ‘You have to have unity, a collective decision has to be made across the board, but within the club it should be there.

‘You have to realise you can’t kill the golden goose, you’re playing for a football club, the shop front isn’t open, they’re not training, there’s no games, everybody has to buy into this.

‘They need to get into line, to be as one, and sometimes there are bigger things than football that are happening in the world.’

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