Mesut Ozil has made “Arsenal look absolutely stupid” by offering to cover the wages of club mascot Gunnersaurus, says Paul Merson, with the Gunners questioned for letting “an institution” go amid supposed cost-cutting measures while handing a £150,000-a-week contract to Thomas Partey.

The summer transfer window closed with Mikel Arteta able to add the commanding midfielder to his ranks that he has been crying out for in the form of ex-Atletico Madrid star Partey.

Considerable funds were found there, including a £45 million ($58m) fee, but no money is left in the pot to extend Gunnersaurus’ association with the club.

The decision to part with a popular and long-serving character has been met with widespread criticism, despite the need for belts to be tightened in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Ozil has come out and said that he would be willing to pay the salary of Arsenal’s mascot, but the German is currently frozen out of the first-team picture under Arteta and another of those who seemingly has no long-term future in the Gunners’ plans.

Merson told the Daily Star of a sorry episode: “Mesut Ozil has madeArsenallook absolutely stupid by offering to pay for Gunnersaurus to keep his job.

“But binning their mascot just shows how selfish and out of touch the people who run the club are these days. You cannot believe how angry I am about this. It is unbelievably shocking at the highest level.

“Arsenal used to ooze class. I don’t think the owners even know what that word means any more. Whoever made the decision to get rid of the mascot needs to take a long hard look at themselves.

“The guy in the suit, Jerry Quy. This bloke loves doing that. He was there when I played for Arsenal. He’s an institution. My kids grew up with him. They would be as interested in the dinosaur as they were in the players. Their faces would light up.

“It absolutely does my head in that they’ve got rid of him just to save money. How many other clubs, ones in the lower leagues who are really struggling, have done that? Even if they bring him back when fans are allowed back in the stadium, it’s a disgrace.”

Former Arsenal winger Merson added: “They’ve just signed Thomas Partey for £45m. If he’s on £150,000-a-week, are you telling me they couldn’t have offered £149,000 and given the rest to the dinosaur?

“The club are putting money above the fans, above the things that are important. I can’t catch my breath if I’m being honest. I don’t think the people who run the club understand the club really.

“I like where Arsenal are going on the pitch. Mikel Arteta is doing really well. And Partey is an unbelievable signing.

“I don’t know why Manchester United or even Manchester City didn’t go for him. He’s better than what they’ve got.

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