Alexandre Lacazette faces disciplinary action from Arsenal after footage emerged that appeared to show him inhaling nitrous oxide from a balloon.
The club are likely to take a strong line after assessing the images, which were reproduced in newspaper reports on Saturday. Lacazette is pictured with a balloon in his mouth and is quoted as sending text messages to friends saying he is “at home, chilling and doing balloons”.
A club spokesman said: “This is a private matter which we are taking seriously. It will be handled internally.”
This is not Lacazette’s first such incident and Arsenal will be exasperated at having to deal with a repeat. In August 2018 he was filmed inhaling gas in a nightclub along with his teammates Mesut Özil, Matteo Guendouzi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. When that video came to light four months later the players were spoken to by the club and reminded of their responsibilities.
There will be further frustration that this is not Lacazette’s first misdemeanour during the Covid-19 shutdown. Last month he was reminded of his physical-distancing obligations after being pictured interacting with a valet who had visited his property to clean a car. While that might be attributed to misunderstanding stipulations regarding essential services and home visits, none of these incidents are a good look for a player whose future has come into question during recent months.
Lacazette admitted in February that his season has been “difficult” on a personal level, and before football was paused he lost his place up front to the academy graduate Eddie Nketiah. There have been suggestions that, in any case, he will be allowed to depart if Champions League football is not secured for the 2020-21 campaign.
Arsenal have been training individually at their London Colney base over the past three weeks but aim to resume activities in small groups this week, if the Premier League’s protocols are approved on Monday.