Manchester United still have no plans in the ‘foreseeable future’ to ask players to take a pay cut as the club’s commercial prowess makes it better prepared than most to cope with the financial downturn caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
So much for the Old Trafford club being the butt of jokes for having an ‘official noodle partner’?
Arsenal have been in talks with players over taking a 12.5% pay cut, a proposal that initially rejected by the Gunners squad.
Tottenham, meanwhile, have even entered talks with former manager Mauricio Pochettino to reduce his ongoing compensation payments, with the club sacking the Argentine in November but agreeing to pay his salary until he gets another job.
United, however, do not have any such plans for the time being. The club has also previously pledged to continue paying non-playing staff in full.
The Sun estimates United’s lost revenue to hit £20m if the season is completed behind closed doors, which is the likeliest scenario. But the club is said to be ‘confident’ of being able to take that financial hit.
Commercial revenue, which totalled £275m last season – equating to 44% of the club’s overall 2018/19 income, has already brought in £151m in 2019/20 based on the published accounts from the first two quarters of the campaign. That is a major reason for the confidence.
The Sun, however, goes on to add a concession that United’s stance could change if the impact of the crisis continues to be felt month after month. “The reality is that no one can predict what this will look like if nobody kicks a ball in six months,” a source told the tabloid.
United will also be well aware of possible spending restrictions that could be imposed on clubs who cut or defer player wages. Ex-captain Gary Neville recently called for clubs that cut salaries to be hit with a transfer embargo, warning against the possibility that some sides could still go out and spend in the transfer market even after talking players and staff into wage reductions.
Now, The Times reports that the matter has already been discussed at EFL board level and there is a feeling that clubs should not be allowed to add to their wages bills – i.e. by buying new players – until the existing players have been paid what they are owed and reimbursed.
If the idea is implemented and extended to the Premier League, it could have significant repercussions for a number of clubs who have sought to temporarily cut costs.
On an individual level, United players are involved in #PlayersTogether along with the rest of the Premier League, which has seen player pledge donations to support the NHS. Harry Maguire was a key figure in getting the programme up and running, with the United skipper thought to have been the first non-Liverpool player contacted by chief organiser Jordan Henderson.