Arsenal say they are taking photos which show Alexandre Lacazette inhaling from a balloon ‘seriously’, after the France international was pictured on the front of a national newspaper on Sunday.
Pictures published by the Daily Star show Lacazete inhaling from the balloon before closing his eyes and relaxing on a sofa. They have been taken from a video that Lacazette is said to have sent to friends. The footage is accompanied by some text which says ‘at home, chilling and doing balloons’.
Arsenal have since responded to the story, insisting it will be dealt with internally – with Lacazette facing a fine of up to two weeks wages.
A statement released by the club said: “This is a private matter which we are taking seriously. It will be handled internally.”
It is not known exactly when the video was recorded, but it comes just as Arsenal are preparing for the squad to return to small group training ahead of the Premier League’s project restart plans.
The incident comes 18 months after Lacazette and several of his Arsenal team-mates were videoed in a London nightclub inhaling gas from balloons during a party.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sean Kolasinac, Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi were also involved, with the footage angering Arsenal bosses at the time.
A statement released by the club in December 2018, said: “The players will be spoken to about this and reminded of their responsibilities as representatives of the club.”
Prior to football’s suspension in March, Lacazette had endured a disappointing season – with the 28-year-old struggling to find his best form after an injury in pre-season disrupted the early part of his campaign.
The striker, who has been linked with a potential move to Atletico Madrid this summer and is approaching the final two years of his contract, has nine goals and three assists from 26 appearances.
He found himself behind Eddie Nketiah in the pecking order in the games leading up to football’s suspension in March, having to make do with a place amongst the substitutes in each of Arsenal’s last three Premier League matches.
He did come off the bench to score in the wins against Newcastle and West Ham, however, and vowed to win back his spot in the starting XI.
“It is my job to give the manager a big headache,” he said after scoring the winner in the 1-0 win against West Ham. “I’m struggling to make the first team but I’m happy to score again.”