Arsenal’s scouting department continues to take the brunt of job cuts after the Premier League club announced plans to make 55 redundancies.
Former Gunners striker Ian Wright seemingly questioned the decision, announced in a statement on Wednesday afternoon, but several employees have already been informed of their future.
The PA news agency understands further cuts were made to Arsenal’s European scouting network on Thursday, following on from the departures of head of international scouting Francis Cagigao, head of UK scouting Peter Clark and scout Brian McDermott.
The cuts come as the club continues to face up to the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic – with head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham pointing to severe drops in broadcast revenue in the statement confirming redundancies.
It is believed the cuts will come across football departments as well as commercial and administrative roles and some staff members have been given the news.
A number of the players are reportedly unhappy with the decision, most of them having already accepted 12.5 per cent pay cuts earlier this year in a move to protect their colleagues.
PA understands some of the first-team squad have been in contact with staff members who are at risk, with another host of employees expected to learn their fate on Friday.
The call to make such cuts has been met with wide-ranging derision by supporters on social media, with a change.org petition already set up asking for the decision to be reversed.
Meanwhile, Wright took to Twitter to show his apparent dismay at the news, writing: “Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent!!!” as he retweeted Arsenal’s original post.
Despite the news, it is understood Arsenal’s current plans in the transfer market will not be affected by the job cuts.
Chelsea winger Willian continues to be heavily linked with a free transfer to the Emirates Stadium – although the club have privately been distancing themselves with a loan move for Philippe Coutinho of Barcelona – while captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is reportedly close to signing a new contract.
Arsenal announced the decision just four days after winning a record 14th FA Cup, although ensuring another season of Europa League football by beating Chelsea at Wembley was not enough to prevent the cuts.
“Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic we have been working hard to ensure that Arsenal Football Club emerges in a robust and strong position for the future,” the statement read.
“In line with other football clubs and many other businesses operating in the sport, leisure and entertainment arena, we have been impacted directly by Covid-19.
“Our main sources of income have all reduced significantly. Revenue from broadcasters, matchday and commercial activities have all been hit severely and these impacts will continue into at least the forthcoming 2020-21 season.
“Over recent years we have consistently invested in additional staff to take the club forward but with the expected reduction of income in mind, it is now clear that we must reduce our costs further to ensure we are operating in a sustainable and responsible way, and to enable us to continue to invest in the team.
“Our aim has been to protect the jobs and base salaries of our people for as long as we possibly can. Unfortunately, we have now come to the point where we are proposing 55 redundancies.”