The fight to bring Gunnersaurus back from extinction is on.
On Tuesday, a day after the beloved Arsenal mascot was let go in a cost-cutting measure caused by the coronavirus pandemic, estranged Gunners star Mesut Özil offered to pay the salary of Jerry Quy, who had donned Gunnersaurus’ furry green costume since the character was introduced in 1993.
News of the mascot’s demise was met by shock and anger from Arsenal fans and former players as well as those from rival clubs. Part of the outrage stemmed from the move coinciding with transfer deadline day, on which Arsenal — owned by cheapskate American billionaire Stan Kroenke — paid Atletico Madrid nearly $60 million to acquire central midfielder Thomas Partey.
Özil went one step further. In a pair of Twitter posts, Özil said he made the offer “so Jerry can continue his job that he loves so much.”
The German World Cup-winning midfielder has made more than 200 appearances for Arsenal since arriving from Real Madrid in 2013, but he has been beset by injuries and poor form in recent seasons. He missed more than half of the London club’s 38 Premier League games in 2019-20. A back injury has prevented Özil from appearing for the Gunners this term.
Currently in the final year of his contract, Özil is Arsenal’s highest-paid player, with his weekly paychecks topping $450,000. Per annum, the 32-year-old takes in almost $6.5 more than star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The club said Monday that Gunnersaurus would return to the sidelines as soon local health officials begin allowing fans inside stadiums again. Games in England have been played sans supporters since matches resumed in June following a three-month hiatus in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
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