Arsenal’s Ozil offers to pay Gunnersaurus’ salary

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Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil has offered to pay the salary of Gunnersaurus in an attempt to avoid the club mascot’s redundancy.

Jerry Quy, the man who wore the dinosaur costume since the character’s creation in 1993, has been told his job no longer exists as a result of the absence of fans at Emirates Stadium due to COVID-19.

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The decision has prompted an angry reaction among supporters and ex-players, especially as the decision emerged on the same day the Gunners paid Atletico Madrid £45 million to sign Thomas Partey.

Arsenal announced in August that they were making 55 non-playing staff redundant as the club reacts to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic while the first-team squad were asked to take a 12.5% pay cut which dropped to 7.5% after qualifying for this season’s Europa League.

Ozil is the club’s highest earner on £350,000-a-week but while he refused to join his teammates in taking a salary reduction, he has now offered to cover the cost of reinstating Quy for the next year until his contract expires next summer.

“I was so sad that Jerry Quy aka our famous & loyal mascot @Gunnersaurus and integral part of our club was being made redundant after 27 years,” Ozil posted on Twitter. “As such, I’m offering to reimburse @Arsenal with the full salary of our big green guy as long as I will be an Arsenal player…”

Quy’s role is part-time and therefore not counted among the 55 redundancies, although he has also been involved with the club in a supporter liaison capacity.

A club spokesman told ESPN: “Gunnersaurus is not extinct and will return to action when fans are allowed back at matches.”

However, it is unclear whether Quy would be given the opportunity to resume the role and it remains uncertain when that could be as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the United Kingdom with the government shelving plans to allow supporters back from Oct. 1.

Ozil is currently frozen out of the first-team picture under manager Mikel Arteta having not featured in any competition since March 7.

He was made available in the summer transfer window but no deal could be reached with any club given the 31-year-old’s determination to see out the final year of his contract.

Ozil could suffer a fresh blow in the next 24 hours with Arsenal set to finalise their 25-man squad for the Europa League group stage. UEFA rules dictate only 17 non-homegrown players can be selected but the Gunners currently have 19.