Less than a week after he won the FA Cup and secured qualification for the UEFA Champions League next season, and as he negotiated a new multi-million contract for his striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Arsenal announced plans to lay off 55 employees.
Arsenal said today, Wednesday, that these cuts are the financial consequences of the Covid 19-pandemic. The announcement sparked an outrage on social media from fans who compared the huge sums allocated to keep top players with lost jobs at the club in north London.
"The profits of broadcasting, match days and commercial activities have been severely damaged, and these repercussions will continue until at least the next 2020-2021 season," the club said in a statement.
The club stressed that it did everything in its power to reduce costs, including volunteering players, senior officials and managers to reduce their wages, adding, "But it is clear now that we must reduce our expenses further to ensure that work continues in a sustainable and responsible manner."
"We do not deal with the matter lightly and we studied all aspects of the club and our expenses before reaching this point. We also received a great financial support from our owners in terms of refinancing the stadium debt.
"All these steps have reduced the impact of the pandemic on the club and helped us to continue investing in the team. This will continue to be a priority."
Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League, but winning the Cup for the 14th time in its history, a record last Saturday, guaranteed the club to participate for another year in European championships and the possibility of obtaining up to 40 million pounds ($ 52.58 million) from participating in the European League.
The fans were already enraged by the club's payment of a weekly salary of 350,000 pounds to former Germany national team player Masoud Ozil, who had not played in any games since the resumption of the season, and the reference to his salary was common in hundreds of posts from angry fans on Wednesday.
Arsenal is also seeking to include Brazilian Willian from Chelsea with a huge weekly salary as well, while local media reported this week that the London club offered Aubameyang a weekly salary of 300,000 pounds to extend his contract.