Hopes are building at Arsenal that an agreement between the club and players over potential wage cuts is close.
Talks, which have been ongoing between both parties for the past fortnight, have so far proved unsuccessful in terms of reaching an agreement, but sources have confirmed to Goal that there is a now genuine belief that the discussions are heading in the right direction.
On Monday, the players voted against a proposal which would have seen them take a 12-month pay cut of 12.5 per cent. The news was a blow to the club, who as part of the proposal had offered to repay the lost money, should the team go on and qualify for the Champions League.
However while there was some support from members of the squad, it did not receive the backing of enough of the players to get the 75% agreement that was needed.
Had that offer been accepted, it would have seen Arsenal cut around £25 million ($31m) from their annual £230m ($286m) wage bill. It was, however, met with scepticism from some senior players with the Gunners currently sitting ninth in the Premier League.
Talks have continued since, however, and now there is a feeling that an agreement - centred around the same 12.5 per cent terms - is edging closer.
The change in mood comes after head coach Mikel Arteta - as first reported by the Athletic - led a conference call with his squad on Wednesday night urging them to try and find a solution to the current impasse.
Arteta is known to be understanding of the squad’s position, but is also aware of the financial situation the club finds itself in now that football has been suspended indefinitely due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The suspension of football and the broader global economic impact of the virus mean that many of our revenue streams are on hold or are at risk,” said a statement released by Arsenal. “The potential impact on our revenue streams puts our operating model under pressure.
“We know that this crisis will pass, and normality will resume, but timeframes cannot be known with any certainty. The potential financial impact is significant so we must be responsible and act now to best protect Arsenal from what might happen in the months ahead. What is clear is that this is one of the most challenging periods in our near 134-year history.”
The news that an agreement with the players is close comes soon after Arsenal announced that the club’s 14 man executive team, which includes head of football Raul Sanllehi, managing director Vinai Venkatesham and academy manager Per Mertesacker, would be waiving more than a third of their wages over the next 12 months.