Everyone knew an extended period playing behind closed doors would be damaging but 55 redundancies have no parallels among the club’s peers

When Arsenal announced in April that the majority of their players and coaching staff had agreed to take wage cuts, a section of their statement shed telling light on the tone of the negotiations. “In these conversations there has been a clear appreciation of the gravity of the current situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and a strong desire for players and staff to show their backing for the Arsenal family,” it read.

The squad believed they would be helping to protect other employees, most of whom enjoy nothing like footballers’ levels of financial security, from being plunged into a job market whose brutality seems likely to be unmatched in modern times. So it is no surprise that eyebrows have been raised, to put it mildly, among Mikel Arteta’s players at the news on Wednesday that 55 redundancies are proposed across the club. The players can argue they have done their bit off the pitch – and on it to a certain extent, through winning the FA Cup and reaching the Europa League – and are entitled to question what has changed.

Related: Arsenal shed more scouts in break-up of their European network

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