Chelsea could become the first Premier League team to take a voluntary pay cut after the players collectively agreed to the reduction in a group WhatsApp chat with captain Cesar Azpilicueta, according to reports.
Despite extensive talks between clubs and players, so far no team has yet agreed to a pay cut to ease financial difficulties during the coronavirus pandemic – though Southampton did commit to a wage deferral.
Arsenal’s squad are believed to be very close to an agreement over a 12.5% reduction, with the gunners boss Mikel Arteta intervening to convince the players.
The Sun claim that Chelsea may be further down the line in announcing their pay cuts after the players agreed to take a £10m hit over the next four months.
The reduction represents a 10% pay cut and will start from next month, with the squad agreeing for it to remain in place until the start of the new campaign which is hoped to begin in September.
Talks between the players were held over WhatsApp, with skipper Azpilicueta talking to the club’s hierarchy on behalf of the players.
The 30-year-old OK’d the deal via a group text sent to all the players, with the squad all replying that they were good with the terms.
Frank Lampard will have played a key part in talks too, with the Chelsea head coach volunteering to have his own salary slashed at a higher percentage than the players.
The former England player will forgo 25% of his salary – around £1.25m of his £5m-a-year pay packet – as the blues look to wrestle with their mammoth £285m annual wage bill.
The Sun also claim that the Chelsea players have not demanded payback clauses and are willing to swallow the pay cut in its entirety, unlike the Arsenal squad who only agreed to their own 12.5% reduction after being offered Champions League qualification incentives.
If the Gunners qualify for next campaign’s Champions League or the 2021-22 competition they will receive a £100,000 bonus each, as well as £500,000 if they are able to win the 2021 competition.