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Ozil offers to pay salary of Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus

Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton v Arsenal - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - June 25, 2020 Arsenal's Mesut Ozil sits under a umbrella as he shields from the sun on the bench, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Andrew Matthews/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil roared to the rescue of the club’s recently made redundant employee who dresses up as the Gunnersaurus mascot on Tuesday, offering to pay his salary as long as he remains at the club.

Jerry Quy, who had a role as an away supporters liason as well as entertaining home fans at the Emirates Stadium as the green dinosaur, was recently leg go by the club due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to British media reports.

However, Arsenal said that the mascot was not extinct and would return once supporters were allowed back at English soccer games after coronavirus safety measures were eased, although they did not clarify whether Quy would continue in the role.

“Gunnersaurus will always be an important part of Arsenal and we look forward to him entertaining our fans when they’re allowed back at matches,” the club said in an emailed statement, but adding it could not discuss personal staff information.

Ozil, one of the club’s highest paid players but who has fallen out of favour with coach Mikel Arteta, has offered to help Quy financially to allow him to stay on.

“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 said on Twitter on Tuesday, adding the hashtag #JusticeForGunnersaurus.

“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... so Jerry can continue his job that he loves so much.”

Ozil, 31, who is under contract with Arsenal until 2021 and earns a reported 350,000 pounds ($454,300) per week, has not made any appearances for the team this season and made 18 Premier League starts in the last campaign.

($1 = 0.7704 pounds)

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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